Spending patterns show more people are on the move – both into and out of Auckland – but the bigger picture is simply Christmas: we are buying more this year. This according to new data from Worldline NZ.
While the easing of Auckland’s Covid-19-induced boundary restrictions last week allowed for more movement of people across the country resulting in higher spending on accommodation in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Auckland/Northland regions, the dominant pattern across the nation was the ongoing surge in spending ahead of Christmas Day.
“While New Zealanders are no doubt enjoying more freedom of movement due to the change to Auckland’s boundary settings, the bigger influence on increased spending across the nation was clearly Christmas,” says Worldline’s Head of Data, George Putnam.
“In 2020, a record $4.9B was spent through Worldline at the core retail stores in the six weeks before Christmas – supermarkets, department stores, appliance shops, clothing outlets, toy stores and jewellers. Now, with just five days of pre-Christmas trading left in 2021, we are seeing spending levels are well above last year.”
At this stage, the fastest annual growth pre-Christmas, taken as the 37 days since 13 November, is in Wanganui (+10%), Taranaki (+9%) and Waikato (+9%). Lowest pre-Christmas spending growth to date has been in Marlborough (+1%), Wellington (+2%), Otago (+2%), Nelson (+2%) and Gisborne (+3%).
The two-year pre-Christmas growth rate is lowest in Otago (+2%), which includes Queenstown.
Looking more closely at patterns since Auckland’s lockdown ended, nationwide spending through Worldline core retail merchants, excluding hospitality, over the five days since the Auckland border easing ($549m) was up 10 percent on the same days in the previous week.
Notably, spending through Worldline’s payment network at accommodation merchants in Bay of Plenty ($1.6m) jumped 43 percent in the first five days following the easing of restricted travel across the Auckland boundary, compared to the same five days one week earlier.
“Movement to this region is typical for this time of year but the increased accommodation spending in recent days occurred earlier this year, coinciding with the removal of the Auckland travel restrictions,” says Putnam.
The Bay of Plenty accommodation spend is expected to increase further in the next few days but is still unlikely to reach the pre-Covid levels of 2019.