Paymark processed credit card transactions from approximately 148 foreign countries during February. Foreign card spending was highest in Otago, where visitors to the country spent 32 percent more than the previous year, and in the Bay of Plenty, where foreign spending was up by 26.1 percent.
The highest number of foreign transactions came from Chinese and US-issued credit cards, with Australians and UK residents also spending heavily.
“Not surprisingly, more than 60% of the foreign card spending in February came through merchants in the hospitality or tourism sectors such as hotels, cafes and tourist activity operators,” says Paymark head of customer relations, Mark Spicer.
Other sectors that reaped the benefits of the increasing number of visitors to New Zealand were supermarkets and takeaways with an extra $2.9 million transacted through overseas credit cards. The clothing, footwear and jewellery sectors received a $2 million boost, but their overall growth remains slow with an annual increase of 2.6 percent.
Spending at department stores is up 6.2 percent year on year.
Spicer said the extra foreign card spending was a significant factor behind double-digit annual spending growth in the hospitality sector. Annual spending growth also remains strong in the furniture, hardware, construction and building supply sectors.
Overall, however, New Zealand’s total spending growth was moderate at 4.3 percent.
Spicer says this reflects the continuing low fuel prices. He said February tended to see people concentrating on their return to work and the start of the school year.
“There’s a strong seasonal element whereby it’s back to reality for the majority of Kiwis and that shows across most spending.”