Retail spending for 2021 peaks in April

Seasonally adjusted retail card spending rose to $6.1 billion this April, the highest it has been this year, Stats NZ said today.

Spending was up $234 million (4 percent) compared with March 2021.

MonthActualSeasonally adjusted
Apr-1954700000005660280000
May-1955200900005626220000
Jun-1952802700005628320000
Jul-1953593100005620040000
Aug-1954850100005686090000
Sep-1953455400005713780000
Oct-1957695600005697590000
Nov-1961712200005854380000
Dec-1972092100005857670000
Jan-2058914400005860270000
Feb-2056911400005891240000
Mar-2056514900005614410000
Apr-2028706100002951970000
May-2051882000005279930000
Jun-2057012300006111550000
Jul-2059689600006182100000
Aug-2054390000005720880000
Sep-2057344000006093020000
Oct-2062507200006082360000
Nov-2062560300006051870000
Dec-2074595300006012810000
Jan-2160056800005976920000
Feb-2153914400005832640000
Mar-2159373500005881040000
Apr-2159897100006114540000

Spending was up across all the core retail industries, apart from the motor vehicles industry. This industry was down $0.4 million (0.2 percent) compared with March 2021. The fuel and apparel industries saw the largest increases in spending. Both were up $26 million compared with March 2021, rising five percent and eight percent respectively.

“With New Zealand moving up and down alert levels several times in February and March, there is likely to have been pent-up demand resulting in higher spending in April,” business statistics manager Geraldine Duoba said.

“In particular, with cooler weather beginning to bite, people may have been stocking up on warm clothing and using the car a bit more.”

April spending back to 2019 levels

Card spending in April returned to levels seen in April 2019, compared with one year ago.

Total card spending increased by $4.3 billion (117 percent) between April 2020 and April 2021.

“A big bounce back between last April and this month was inevitable, with the previous April being the first full month New Zealand spent in lockdown,” Ms Duoba said.

Industry201920202021
Consumables200203000021940200002185290000
Durables13059400003628800001565170000
Hospitality1078770000565600001154780000
Apparel32206000035630000349140000
Motor vehicles excl. fuel16703000028660000186320000
Fuel587490000185800000542360000

This increase in spending was seen across almost all industries. Spending on hospitality dropped to extremely low levels during April 2020, and this industry saw the largest relative increase in spending – up $1.1 billion (1,942 percent) from $57 million in April 2020 to $1.2 billion in April 2021.

The consumables industry, which includes supermarket shopping, was the only industry that saw a decrease in spending – down $8.7 million (0.4 percent) from the same time last year.

“We spent all of last April unable to frequent our favourite take-outs and trying to perfect our banana-bread recipes. Having returned to our normal routines, it is not surprising to see a slight dip in supermarket spending and a large increase in restaurant spending this April,” Ms Duoba said.

While there was a large increase on 2020 levels, card spending in April was also up on 2019, by $427 million (six percent). The durables industry saw the largest increase, up $259 million (20 percent) compared with April 2019. This includes spending on things like furniture, sporting goods, pharmaceutical products, and shopping in department stores.

“With opportunities for international travel still really limited this year, Kiwis are focusing instead on upgrading their living spaces and leisure activities,” Ms Duoba said.

/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.