Spending data reveals Kiwis were cautious with their money in 2023

New spending data has revealed Kiwi consumers were more careful with their money in 2023.

It's evidence, according to one economist, that the Reserve Bank's inflation-battling tactics are working.

Figures from Worldline show the average transaction size was $51.10 - that's down 1.5 percent on the previous year.

People spent more on food and liquor, but less at retail and furniture stores.

Hospitality businesses are also feeling the downturn, with a new restaurant survey showing customers are spending less.

After two decades in hospitality, Michael Dearth's waterfront venue Baduzzi gets decent foot traffic, but the rising cost of running a kitchen is taking a toll on the veteran restaurateur.

"We're looking at everything we're spending," Dearth told Newshub.

And it doesn't help that summer hasn't quite delivered the patrons he hoped for.

"This holiday period was a success, but it definitely could've been better."

In a new Restaurant Association survey, about 47 percent of respondents said their summer holiday trade was down.

Meanwhile, 54 percent said customer volumes were normal. One respondent said they had plenty of customers, but they ordered and spent less money.

It's also the reality for Annabelles Restaurant in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

"The spending is not quite there per head, but the amount of people around are exactly the same," said owner Sang Chen.

Wellington restaurant Field & Green was permanently closed last month, while Lyall Bay's Elements Café also called it quits, citing rising costs and a drop in spending.

It's a trend noted by the Restaurant Association's CEO Marisa Bidois.

"We're seeing people out and about, which is good, but they are minding their money," she said.

It's important to remember that just over one year ago, Te Pūtea Matua The Reserve Bank admitted to deliberately engineering a recession to bring down inflation.

It did so by influencing the rise in commercial interest rates.