Retail spending is on the rise but spending on accommodation and fuel is lower than a year ago, new figures show.
Electronic card data released by Statistics New Zealand on Tuesday shows Kiwis spent a whopping $9.5 billion ($9.46 billion) in the month of December - 1.8 percent more than in December 2019. The average amount spent per transaction was $53.
Total retail spending reached $7.4 billion - a $251 million (3.4 percent) increase year-on-year. This includes consumables, durables, hospitality, clothing, fuel and vehicles. Kiwis spent $368 million on services, a year-on-year increase of $28 million (7.6 percent) and $1.64 billion on non-retail goods.
Hospitality spending was $1.81 billion in December, dropping $66 million (5.3 percent) compared to December 2019. Spending on accommodation (excludes quarantine facilities) was $83 million lower year-on-year, but spending on food and drink was $17 million higher.
Thanks to lower commodity prices due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, fuel became cheaper. Fuel spending dropped by $74 million (12 percent) in December year-on-year, to $559 million.
Statistics New Zealand spokesperson Craig Liken said December's electronic spending data is largely as expected.
"With price increases and population growth, compared to the same month the previous year, spending tends to increase by a few percent," Liken said.
"Overall hospitality spending is lower than it was last year...that's likely to be due to the lack of international tourists."
Spending data for specific retail sectors shows $218 million was spent on cars - $19 million (9.6 percent) more than in December 2019. A further $501 million was spent on clothing, up $38 million (8.2 percent) year-on-year.
Spending on consumable items (supermarkets, grocery stores and liquor outlets) reached $2.69 billion, up 7.5 percent, and includes a 16 percent increase for liquor. Spending on durable goods including furniture, electronics and recreation increased by 6.7 percent, totaling $2.30 billion.
Comparing the December 2020 quarter (October to December) to the December 2019 quarter, spending within core retail industries rose $1 billion, an increase of 6 percent. Hospitality spending dropped $130 million (3.7 percent), from $3.52 billion to $3.39 billion.
The data captures all debit, credit and charge card spending across New Zealand.