She’ll be right: Growing consumer confidence

  • Opinion
  • September 26, 2017
  • Shyamal Maharaj
She’ll be right: Growing consumer confidence

Over the past year we’ve seen both households and businesses becoming increasingly confident about the economic outlook.

This confidence is reinforcing expectations for firm economic activity over the coming year. In addition to firming confidence and activity, we’re also seeing positive conditions in the tourism and hospitality sectors, with high profile sporting events playing a big role.

Confidence in economic conditions has continued to firm through mid-2017. Our own Westpac McDermott Miller survey saw widespread gains in consumer confidence for the June quarter, rising to levels not seen since 2015. However, we’re seeing some divergence across regions. In rural regions confidence has firmed, supported by an improvement in commodity prices, mainly global dairy prices. On the other hand, Auckland and Canterbury have seen confidence ease, which could be a reflection of the slowing housing market and maturity of the earthquake recovery. Despite that, people are spending more on entertainment and this is one factor boosting business confidence.

On top of this, businesses are continuing to report strength in activity. Businesses in the construction sector are particularly upbeat, but we’re also seeing gains in other sectors like manufacturing, retail and agriculture. Importantly, firming economic activity and rising confidence have led to increases in hiring intentions. Workers are reporting strong gains in jobs availability and this is adding to their overall confidence levels. However, low wage growth remains a concern for the medium-term view of employment and consumer confidence, but has taken the back burner for now. Another issue facing businesses is the difficulty of filling in vacancies for many sectors that are short-staffed, but facing high demand. Filling in these vacancies will be critical to translate the growing confidence into economic growth, especially in sectors like hospitality and retail.

In addition to the more general strengthening in economic conditions, we’re seeing very positive results in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The tourism industry in New Zealand continues to boom with over 3.6m visitors over the past year, which is boosting spending in areas like hospitality, retail and accommodation. Strength in these sectors has been given a further boost by the Lions Tour, which saw widespread gains in spending across many regions. In addition, a major event like hosting the 36th America’s Cup in New Zealand would have benefits that echo beyond the event itself. The impetus for bringing forward major infrastructure projects like developments to the Auckland Waterfront and transport services are likely to boost economic activity and increase the demand for labour, for quite some time

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Bonnie Brown’s Blooming ‘Brella: Winner of the Blunt + Idealog + Generator umbrella experiment

  • News
  • May 25, 2018
  • Elly Strang
Bonnie Brown’s Blooming ‘Brella: Winner of the Blunt + Idealog + Generator umbrella experiment

The grand winner of the Blunt + Idealog + Generator umbrella experiment has been announced – congratulations to Bonnie Brown of Studio Bon, who will see her design turned into a limited edition Blunt umbrella. Watch this space for details on how to buy one in the near future, or get your pre-order in now. In the meantime, we chat with Brown and have a closer look at her winning design.

Read more

Save money or save values?

  • Opinion
  • May 25, 2018
  • Courtney Devereux
Save money or save values?

As the next generation become top spenders, it is up to them to communicate their values to the market. Below you’ll find examples of local, ethical, mindful and sustainable retailers to support, well also upgrading your wardrobe.

Read more

#Trending: Shop to showroom

  • News
  • May 25, 2018
  • Sarah Pollok
#Trending: Shop to showroom

Stores are starting to display only sample products are on the rise. Sarah Pollok looks into the new showroom experience hitting our retailers.

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Debunking diversity myths surrounding hiring practises

  • Opinion
  • May 24, 2018
  • Rose Lu
Debunking diversity myths surrounding hiring practises

Flick Electric software engineer Rose Lu has often been the sole woman or sole non-white person in the room in her career, and recently assisted with Flick's hiring process for new engineers. Here, she shares some key learnings on how to hire for diversity – and how to get around the obstacles that often pop up.

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