Retail sales hold up in December quarter

Robust sales of vehicles, hardware supplies, and electrical items contributed to the rise of total retail values in the December 2020 quarter after the spending surge in the September 2020 quarter sales, Stats NZ said today.

In actual terms using year on year movements, total retail sales values, rose 4.9 percent ($1.3 billion) in December 2020 quarter after the strong 7.4 percent ($1.8 billion) rise in the September 2020 quarter.

The momentum of higher spending on motor vehicles continued into the December 2020 quarter with another solid increase of 12 percent ($412 million), after the 13 percent ($454 million) lift in the September 2020 quarter.

“Consumer demand remains high in the vehicle industry, regardless of some price increases for new models, and the port supply issues of vehicle arrivals seen earlier in the year,” retail statistics manager Sue Chapman said.

See Overseas merchandise trade: December 2020 for more information on vehicles.

Hardware, building, and garden supplies, up 16 percent ($388 million), and electrical and electronic goods retailing, up 19 percent ($214 million) were the next largest increases this quarter, compared with the December 2019 quarter.

“The strong housing market and continued household improvements have kept consumer demands high for the hardware and garden supplies sales,” Ms Chapman said.

See Building Consents Issued: December 2020 for more information on building consents.

IndustryDec-18Dec-19Dec-20
Motor vehicle and parts retailing323034018633324774473744805876
“Hardware231598098524246188952812808913
building104148291511395875081353163884
and garden supplies “239787314223531712302112006965
Electrical and electronic goods retailing11491585461183136720967911419
Fuel retailing
Accommodation

Sales values in the fuel retailing industry had the largest fall, down 10 percent ($241 million) compared with the December 2019 quarter. This includes the effects of price changes. This quarter saw lower fuel prices, compared with a year ago when fuel prices were on average 30 cents higher over the December 2019 quarter.

After adjusting for seasonal effects, the total value of retail sales in the December 2020 quarter fell 1.2 percent ($329 million) compared with the September 2020 quarter.

South Island regions quieter than normal

Most South Island regions suffered with quiet retail activity in the December 2020 quarter.

The total South Island regions rose a modest 1.2 percent ($78 million) compared with the December 2019 quarter.

Canterbury region reported the only notable increase, up 4.8 percent ($162 million).

Otago region had the largest fall, down 7.5 percent ($111 million) followed by West Coast, down 14 percent ($26 million) and Southland remained relatively unchanged from last year.

North Island regions were boosted by higher sales from regions with larger city centres.

The total North Island regions rose 6.2 percent ($1.3 billion) in the December 2020 quarter.

Auckland region had the largest increase, up 5.0 percent ($507 million), followed by Waikato, up 8.6 percent ($210 million) and Wellington region, up 5.7 percent ($147 million).

QuarterDec-18Dec-19Dec-20
Auckland5.14.65.0
Waikato6.93.18.6
Wellington3.71.95.7
Canterbury1.12.74.8
Otago2.84.3-7.5

Similar increases in sales volumes

After adjusting for price effects, the volume of total retail sales rose 4.8 percent compared with the December 2019 quarter. This quarter’s rise followed the stronger 8.3 percent increase in the September 2020 quarter.

The same three retailing industries contributed the largest increases to the December 2020 quarter sales volumes:

  • electrical and electronic goods retailing, up 21 percent
  • hardware, building, and garden supplies, up 15 percent
  • motor vehicle and parts retailing, up 9.3 percent.

After adjusting for seasonal effects and price changes, the total volume of retail sales in the December 2020 quarter fell 2.7 percent compared with the September 2020 quarter.

Retail trade dashboard

Stats NZ’s retail trade dashboard has further details on retail industries over time: view, compare, and download data for specific retail industries, or data by geographic regions.

/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.