Christmas period boosts domestic card spending

Spending on groceries, furniture, and electronics boosted December 2020 sales compared with December 2019, but accommodation and fuel spending was low, Stats NZ said today.

Total retail card spending rose 3.5 percent in the December 2020 month, up $250 million, compared with December 2019.

For the December 2020 quarter, actual retail card spending using electronic cards was $20 billion, up $816 million (4.3 percent) compared with the December 2019 quarter.

Lift in retail spending

Retail spending rose in 4 of the 6 industries in December 2020 compared with December 2019, with higher sales of groceries and liquor (consumables) and long-lasting goods such as furniture, hardware, and appliances (durables).

In actual terms, spending on groceries and liquor (consumables) had the largest retail industry rise, up $188 million (7.5 percent) from December 2019.

“The continued spending on groceries and liquor coincides with the first month of the summer holidays,” retail statistics manager Craig Liken said.

Spending on long-lasting goods (durables) had the next largest retail industry rise, up $145 million (6.7 percent) from December 2019. This industry includes furniture, electrical, hardware, department stores, and sports goods.

“The boost in furniture and electrical goods such as cell phones and laptops reflects Kiwis spending on Christmas gifts and during Boxing Day sales,” Mr Liken said.

Despite a significant lull in April and May due to lockdown restrictions, annual card spending on durables was up $841 million (5.0 percent) compared with 2019.

Month20192020
Jan13518569241433962431
Feb25657659362793062325
Mar38850924274142213577
Apr51910279854505090827
May65079476865944386821
Jun77930991257539979642
Jul90807337329086502097
Aug1038362374210444399399
Sep1167856822011988900269
Oct1312288204813676830001
Nov1479897766515495630402
Dec1695813376917799535615

Accommodation down, wining and dining up

Spending on hotels, motels, and other accommodation was down $83 million (32 percent) compared with December 2019.

“Low spending on accommodation coincides with the lack of international tourists because of COVID-19 travel restrictions,” Mr Liken said.

In contrast, spending on eating out (food and beverage services) was up $17 million (1.8 percent) compared with the same time last year.

“Kiwis unable to travel internationally during the summer holidays has resulted in domestic tourism and has seen the lift in spending on eating out,” Mr Liken said.

MonthAccommodationFood and beverage services
Dec-18256489037947912101
Jan-19283261742872199071
Feb-19258162977824296617
Mar-19259199954928856665
Apr-19221330559857441272
May-19177381466869460797
Jun-19163244117844266977
Jul-19186658085865519898
Aug-19186648977886724878
Sep-19186975529858385272
Oct-19213478043897188820
Nov-19239510433924391317
Dec-19258089444988595900
Jan-20284443360928528872
Feb-20262211757892874748
Mar-20162500259662446110
Apr-201281878243743038
May-2054686552564613826
Jun-20109696325823807578
Jul-20157098278957377691
Aug-20109558813771539886
Sep-20133440530860278906
Oct-20167264003976344108
Nov-20149153857917744999
Dec-201746310811006070000

Fuel spending remains low

Fuel industry spending was down $74 million (12 percent) compared with December 2019.

“Fuel spending has been low since the lockdown in April compared with the same time last year, mainly due to lower fuel prices,” Mr Liken said.

Non-retail (excluding services) was down $110 million (6.3 percent) – this category includes travel and tour arrangement services (which were heavily affected by international border restrictions), rental and hiring services, and gambling.

Annual spending similar to 2019

Total annual retail card spending for the 2020 calendar year was $68 billion. This is down 0.2 percent ($154 million) from 2019.

Consumables made up 41 percent of spending in 2020 compared with 37 percent in 2019. Hospitality spending was 16 percent of the total in 2020, compared with 19 percent in 2019.

IndustryPercent
Consumables40.5
Durables26.2
Hospitality16.4
Fuel8.6
Apparel5.1
Motor vehicles excl. fuel3.2

“While total spending is similar to 2019, spending patterns have changed, with less spending on hospitality and fuel, and more on groceries, furniture, and electronics,” Mr Liken said.

“Spending on groceries, furniture, and electrical and hardware goods drove the overall increase in December 2020 quarter spending.”

/Stats NZ Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.