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Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence September 2021

The Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index fell 4.4 points in September, taking it to a level of 102.7.

“With the dialling up of the Alert Level across the country, household confidence has taken a knock,” said Westpac’s Acting Chief Economist Michael Gordon. “However, the fall in confidence has been much more modest than in 2020 when Covid first arrived on our shores.”

“While this latest lockdown has resulted in tough times for many families, most New Zealand households still expect that their financial situation will improve over the coming year,” noted Mr Gordon. “That bodes well for the strength of economic demand when Alert Level settings are eventually dialled back.”

“There are some big differences in confidence levels across regions,” noted Mr Gordon. “Auckland posted a large fall, with Alert Level 4 restrictions remaining in place through the survey period. Unsurprisingly, tourist hotspots like Otago also saw confidence levels drop, as did Wellington and Canterbury. In contrast, confidence levels have actually increased in North Island regions like the Bay of Plenty and Manawatu-Whanganui. That may reflect that many of those regions have strong agricultural backbones.”

“While lockdown has dented New Zealand’s confidence, the impact is not as great as this time last year. Perhaps the knowledge that New Zealanders have got through tough times before has helped consumers remain broadly, albeit cautiously, optimistic about their own and New Zealand’s economic future,” suggested Imogen Rendall, Market Research Director of McDermott Miller Limited.

“Younger people aged 18-29 seem unaffected by the events of the last few weeks with confidence remaining high at 111.5, a small increase of 1.2 points since last quarter. In contrast, those aged 30-49 have seen the biggest drop of 9.8 points (down to 101.9). Perhaps the realities of juggling jobs, home schooling and caring for those at risk or shielding, together with increasing concerns about the immediate economic future of the country have had an impact. Those aged 50 plus experienced a smaller drop in confidence of 2.8 points, but overall remain the most pessimistic across the different age groups, with concerns about their immediate future and caution about the long-term economic prospects of New Zealand,” noted Ms Rendall.

A full description of the background and specifications of the survey are attached. The survey was conducted over 1-11 September 2021, with a sample size of 1,557. An index number over 100 indicates that optimists outnumber pessimists. The margin of error of the survey is 2.5%.

Acknowledgement

The Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Survey and Index is owned by McDermott Miller Limited. Westpac McDermott Miller should be acknowledged as the source when citing the Index. Graphs supplied may be reproduced by the news media provided the Westpac McDermott Miller logo remains inset.

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