Stats NZ has recorded a decline in electronic card spending between January and February, with a fall of $256 million (3.2 percent).
The seven days of restrictions from February 14, particularly the three days of Auckland in Level 3 and the rest of the country at Level 2, are likely to have been the cause of the lower spending levels.
“COVID-19 alert level restrictions on movements and activity can impact on the nation’s spending patterns,” says business statistics manager Geraldine Duoba.
While spending dropped in all sectors, non-retail services and consumable goods were impacted the most. Stats NZ found that Kiwis spent $96 million less on non-retail industries including postal services, travel agencies and medical services, and $17 million less on consumable goods such as supermarket, specialised food and liquor sales.
A new Retail Radar report by Retail NZ reveals that the second Lockdown in Auckland from 28 February has also impacted the retail sector.
Retail NZ’s chief executive, Greg Harford, says the two Lockdowns have had a significant effect on retailer confidence, with 37 percent of retailers saying that they are either not sure, or not confident, that they will survive the next 12 months.
“This is a 15 percent jump on the last time we asked this question back in September, and shows the dire impacts of the lockdowns on retail business confidence.”
The report also indicated that there continues to be significant pressures on the supply chain. Retailers are expecting to import 11 percent more containers this year compared to last year, although are facing reduced freight capacity coming into New Zealand and an ongoing congestion at the Ports of Auckland.
“Retailers report that, on average, the cost of seafreight has more than doubled over the past year. This creates unsustainable pressure on costs for almost everything that’s imported, and we expect to start seeing this flow through into price increases over the coming months.”