Overall consumer spending in January through retail stores in Worldline’s payments network was up on the same time last year but dipped in the final week of the month due to Covid influences.
Figures released by Worldline show $3.06B in total spending in January 2022 through core retail sector stores (excluding Hospitality), a lift of 7.1 percent on the same month last year and up 12.8 percent from January 2020. Comparable figures for Hospitality merchants were $0.9B in January 2022, down 5.2 percent on 2021 and 8.7 percent on 2020.
Notably, there was a marked change in overall spending around Monday, 24 January, when the national shift to the ‘Red’ setting occurred under the Covid-19 Protection Framework, prompted by the spread of the Omicron variant in the community.
Worldline’s Head of Data, George Putnam, says it is useful to consider the data from three categories of merchants over the last three weeks of January as the patterns are quite different.
“There was a surge in spending within the Food & Liquor retail store category between 20 – 24 January, most likely in anticipation of a shift to ‘Red’, but after that annual growth rate for this sector reverted to that of earlier in the month,” he says.
“Then there are the Hospitality merchants who in total recorded, through Worldline, slightly lower spending this year in the two weeks preceding the change to Red but experienced a sharp dip from the 24th. Within the Hospitality sector, Accommodation sector spending was down 16.9 percent on year-ago levels for the last week of the month, while the Food & Liquor services sector dropped 10.1% for the same period.
“Finally, there are the remaining core retail merchants – the shops selling hardware, clothes, and appliances, etc. – which, again in total through Worldline, recorded growth early in the month. That growth rate slowed in Auckland and Northland on 25 January, and from 28 January in the rest of the country.
“While it may have been the good weather pulling people away from the shops, the shift to the Red traffic light setting was most likely behind this slower end to the month,” says Putnam.
Overall, spending within the Core Retail excluding hospitality grouping was still higher during January for most regions, the exception being Gisborne (-0.1 percent). Annual growth was highest in West Coast (+15.4 percent).