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Now to fill the stockings – and fridge

Our Christmas shopping is about to ramp up significantly. Spending in the last seven days before Christmas rises to around 50% more than the average week during the rest of the year. Spending will double for the likes of department stores, recreational goods shops, clothing outlets and liquor stores.

The pre-Christmas spend-up got away to a strong start with Black Friday sales, eased a little in the week after but then stepped up again last week. In total, we spent more money in the seven days ending Saturday 14 December ($1452 million) than the seven days ending 7 December ($1403 million) through Paymark.

Spending on any one day did not surpass the two busiest days this year, Easter Thursday ($263 million) and Black Friday ($253 million), but last Friday ($235 million) ranks third for the year so far.

The pattern of spending is still on track for consecutive new daily highs on each of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week, with another two very busy days on the following Monday and Tuesday.

The pre-Christmas spending tally through Paymark – taking a 13-Nov starting point – is now 136 million transactions for $6,482 million, with the annual underlying growth rate in the 32 days of 5.3%.

Spending growth through Paymark has been below the national average in Auckland/Northland and remains highest in Palmerston North.

PAYMARK All Cards Data leading up to Xmas, 13-Nov to 14-Dec
Regiontransactions millions Annual % changetransactions $millionsAnnual % change
Auckland/Northland53.152.7%$2,593.7 3.8%
Waikato10.646.4%$479.5 6.5%
BOP9.667.8%$448.4 7.1%
Gisborne1.387.7%$58.4 8.9%
Taranaki2.883.8%$125.5 4.0%
Hawke's Bay4.178.4%$186.4 8.7%
Wanganui1.586.6%$64.8 6.0%
Palmerston North4.444.1%$230.6 9.1%
Wairarapa1.388.7%$61.6 8.7%
Wellington14.274.4%$611.0 6.5%
Nelson2.472.3%$121.5 1.2%
Marlborough1.709.8%$84.6 8.9%
West Coast0.843.4%$41.2 -0.3%
Canterbury14.826.3%$701.8 5.6%
South Canterbury1.934.7%$99.1 6.6%
Otago7.447.6%$359.9 5.5%
Southland3.076.2%$156.3 6.9%
New Zealand136.714.7%$6,482.8 5.3%
* Underlying spending excludes large clients moving to or from Paymark

Non-scheme debit cards, including the traditional EFTPOS card, still make up the largest share of transactions, comprising 58% of transactions, but the larger share by value (54%), as per usual, has been with scheme credit and debit cards.

Included amongst the EFTPOS spending is Online EFTPOS. At the start of December 2019 there were more than 800 retailers using Paymark’s Online EFTPOS payment product with ASB, Heartland Bank, The Co-operative Bank and Westpac on board as our first banking partners. The number of transactions is still relatively small but the 104% annual transaction growth in the first two weeks of December points to growing interest in this low fee online payment method.

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