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Easter adds to regional spend

Media Release

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Easter once again led to a spending boost in the smaller regions. Underlying spending through Paymark in the week ending Monday 22nd April was up 22.6% in West Coast and 19.6% in Gisborne, compared to the same seven days last year (which did not include Easter). Conversely spending during the seven days was down 7.9% in Canterbury and down 6.0% in Auckland/Northland. Nationwide spending was $1196 million during the seven days (down 0.8%).

PAYMARK All Cards Data (Easter week 2019 versus same week 2018)
Region transactions $millionsannual % change
Auckland/Northland $454.1 -6.0%
Waikato $90.9 5.5%
BOP $92.9 14.5%
Gisborne $11.7 19.6%
Taranaki $24.8 5.8%
Hawke's Bay $36.3 7.0%
Wanganui $13.2 11.7%
Palmerston North $39.8 -1.1%
Wairarapa $12.2 9.0%
Wellington $106.2 -5.9%
Nelson $23.8 2.4%
Marlborough $17.7 14.5%
West Coast $10.0 22.6%
Canterbury $125.1 -7.0%
South Canterbury $18.6 -1.0%
Otago $76.6 7.1%
Southland $30.3 6.2%
New Zealand $1,196.0 -0.8%
* Underlying spending excludes large clients moving to or from Paymark

Figure 1: Paymark All Cards transaction data (16-22 April 2019 versus 17-23 April 2018)

Both the shift in regional spending and the overall spending decline are not unusual for Easter. Spending swings from the busy Easter Thursday - the busiest day outside of December – with a total of $263 million, up 44% in underlying terms from Thursday 19th April 2018, to sharp declines on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The noteworthy exceptions are small grocery stores, fuel stations and hospitality providers. Over the seven days, it is the grocery, liquor, fuel and hospitality merchants that provided almost all the regional spending increase. This year these merchants recorded $43 million more spending (up 15.7%) outside of the three largest Paymark regions. Conversely merchants in these sectors experienced only $7 million more (up 2.1%) spending in the large regions, less than the large declines amongst non-retail merchants.


While down nationwide compared to the non-Easter week mid-April week last year, spending during Easter 2019 did better that of Easter 2018. The 2019 Easter seven-day total was 4.6% higher than in the seven days ending 2 April 2018 (i.e. Easter Monday 2018). This like-for-like annual growth rate is similar to the trend growth rate of 4.9% in 2018. It exceeds that of the slower first quarter 2019 (2.5%). The inter-Easter growth was strongest in Gisborne (+14.6%) and Marlborough (+13.3%). Amongst merchant groupings, spending between Easters was up strongly amongst Clothing and footwear stores (+13.8%) and Liquor retailers (9.9%).


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