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HomeNEWSChristmas cheer: How December’s retail sales fared

Christmas cheer: How December’s retail sales fared

Paymark’s spending data for December found spending growth was up almost eight percent to $5.49 billion.

December saw 106 million transactions on Paymark’s network, which makes up more than 75 percent of New Zealand’s Eftpos terminals.

Auckland, Marlborough, Northland, Southland and the Bay of Plenty saw the strongest spending growth in the country.

The Bay of Plenty in particular broke into double figure growth, with spending increasing 10 percent from 2014.

A number of factors were thought to have influenced consumer spending, including the Reserve Bank cutting the Official Cash Rate by 0.25 percent to 2.5 percent per annum in early December, as well as lower petrol prices.

Increased visitor arrivals to New Zealand were also thought to be a factor, with a visitor increase of 11 percent over November 2015 compared to 2014’s figures.

As shown in the graph below, Auckland and Northland experienced the highest amount of transactions, with $2.23 billion spent, an increase of 9 percent.


Graph by Rupal Hira

This was followed by the Waikato, with $395 million spent and Bay of Plenty, with $368 million spent.

Southland saw the lowest amount spent, with $121 million, but it experienced one of the highest increases in spending from 2014, rising 9 percent.

Paymark also found Christmas eve transactions set a new record, with Kiwi consumers spending more than $147 million. The busiest time of day was 12:21pm, with 157.46 transactions per second.

Statistics New Zealand released similar card data. It found retail spending using electronic cards reached $6 billion in December 2015.

This is up $304 million from December 2014 and is the highest ever monthly figure to date.

However, when the figure was adjusted for seasonal effects, retail spending was down 0.2 percent in December.

Statistics New Zealand business indicators manager Clara Eatherley said this was due to a significant fall in spending in the durables category – down $21 million (1.8 percent).

Hospitality spend saw a significant boost, up $13 million (1.6 percent).

eStar, an ecommerce company, saw its customers’ online transactions grow more than 300 percent over the Christmas/Boxing Day period when compared to normal trading.

Point-of-sale software company Vend reported its Kiwi retailers saw a 11 percent boost in retail spending in the lead up to Christmas, when compared to 2014.

Discounting of products while leading up to Christmas also increased by 22 percent, matching UK retail trends.

However, it found during the Boxing Day and January sales period, spending was down 5 percent on 2014/15.

Despite Boxing Day discounting increasing by as much 100 percent over the rest of the Christmas period, retail spending on the big day was 19 percent lower than the December average.

Vend says the biggest days for retail spend over the whole holiday season to date (1 December – 11 January) were: 

  1. 23rd December
  2. 18th December
  3. 22nd December
  4. ​11th December
  5. 4th December
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