In the month of July, Kiwi consumers spent over $2.84 billion across core retail merchants. Despite this being an improvement on year-on-year figures across some retail sectors, as a whole, the country spending is down 0.3 percent from July last year.
Worldline reveals that the decrease in spending in the month of July was tough for merchants across the country, but several retail sectors are showing “encouraging signs of growth”.
Head of Data, George Putnam, says that a combination of rising interest rates, higher food and fuel prices and wet weather are likely factors in the drop in spending.
“While having five Sundays in July this year had a dampening effect on annual growth along with the widespread wet weather, spending was mostly flat or negative amongst many merchant groups. However, as we have seen in recent months, there are some merchant groups experiencing growth, albeit for apparently different reasons,” he says.
Across the country, sectors that saw an improvement in spend are hotels and motels, footwear, taxis, flight booking companies and movie theatres .
Read more: Data reveals an increase in spending in June.
“These patterns are consistent with a gradual return to more socialising,” he says.
Putnam adds that spending has increased in fuel, food, convenience stores, takeaway merchants, pet shops, bookshops, chemists and non-retailers such as beauty and hairdressing, veterinary services and drycleaners.
“While the exact reasons for these increases in consumer spending in these sectors are not revealed in Worldline NZ’s data, it is certainly encouraging to see these bright spots amidst what has been another tough month for Kiwi merchants,” says Putnam.
Auckland saw slightly bigger decline in spending from the previous year with a decrease of 0.9 percent, with Aucklanders spending $1 billion in July. Wellington saw a 1.9 percent decrease.
However, Gisborne saw the largest decline at five percent and Marlborough following at 4.3 percent.
In terms of an increase in spending, the Taranaki region saw an increase of three percent followed by Waikato at 2.2 percent.
But Putnam says that spending remains above pre-Covid levels in all regions.
He also adds that spending activity in the Otago region saw an increase with the arrival of Australian tourists during the school holidays.
“However, spending over the New Zealand school holiday period in mid-July was lower, and likely to have disappointed merchants in that region following the positive start to the month.”