There’s been a 4.7 percent rise in retail spending from the December 2013 quarter, the Retail Trade Survey by Statistics New Zealand found.
The volume of total retail sales increased by 1.7 percent at the peak of the silly season in December. Out of 15 retail industries, 12 had higher sales volumes.
Core retail industries which had the biggest increase were the food and beverage industry ($72 million increase) and clothing, footwear and accessory retailing ($36 million increase).
Cafes and restaurants make up half of the food and beverage industry’s sales value, showing how fond Kiwis are of dining out.
Sales in Auckland and Canterbury surpassed the rest of the country, rising 2.7 and 2.5 percent. Meanwhile, Wellington and the Waikato dropped in sales by 0.8 and 1.9 percent.
The strong performance by Auckland and Canterbury resulted in an overall rise in sales value in both the North and South Island.
Retail NZ chief executive Mark Johnston says the results show local retailers are adapting to the growth in online retailing, and winning New Zealanders over with their customer service and quality products.
“It looks like investments in new digital channels and e-commerce platforms are starting to pay off for the growing number of local retailers trading online. New Zealand business are moving with the times, innovating and adapting to deliver the best possible customer experience across multiple sales channels,” Johnston says.
However, it’s not all bright and cheery. Supermarket and grocery stores had the biggest decrease out of any industry, down $29 million from 2013.
Though figures for retail spending at overseas online merchants were not included in the survey, a 2014 BNZ online sales index report found that spending at overseas websites was up 19 percent, where as with Kiwi sites it was only up 7 percent.
Johnston says an advantage to buying locally online or in-store is that customers are covered by the Consumers Guarantees Act, which gives protection to anything that might go wrong with a product.
Retail NZ is encouraging New Zealanders to buy locally either online or in store through their #BuyKiwi social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Johnson says retailers should get involved in the campaign by sharing their products on social media.