Retail spending in December was surprisingly modest,
according to Paymark's seasonally-adjusted figures released
Paymark, which process about 75% of all electronic
transactions in New Zealand, said December spending was up
for the third month in a row, but the seasonally-adjusted
total spend increased only 0.5% from November to December.
Despite the positive spending in the week leading up to
Christmas, the December month in total increased a below
average 2.3% year-on-year, in real terms.
Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whitson said the
fact there were five Sundays and Mondays during December,
typically slower days of the week, compared with only four in
2011, affected the raw year-on-year comparison and sometimes
did not tell the full story.
However, what Mr Whitson did not point out that one of those
Mondays was Christmas Eve when people traditionally do a lot
of last-minute spending.
Otago retailers did comparatively well compared with most
other areas. December transactions were up 4% compared with
December 2011 and their value was up 3.6% on the previous
corresponding period. Canterbury's increases were 6.4% and
3.6% respectively. Hawkes Bay transactions rose 4.3% on the
previous period but the value only rose 2.7%.
Paymark figures showed annual spending growth throughout
December was high among cafes and restaurants (up 7.1%),
liquor retailers (8%) and department stores (6.3%).
Also, housing-related spending was still strong during
December as people spent up at appliance stores (up 10.3%)
and hardware stores (9.2%).
It also appeared that many households welcomed new members,
or spoiled existing ones, with spending in pet shops rising
7.5% in December from December 2011.
Nationwide, during December, the volume of card transactions
was 3.6% higher than a year ago, with debit card value
increasing faster at 3.1% than credit card value, up 1.4%.
''When you look at 2012 as a whole, spending through the
Paymark network has risen by 3.3% in value and 3.2% by the
number of transactions,'' Mr Whitson said.
In 2012, Paymark processed 932 million transactions,
totalling $46.5 billion. The average transaction value of
$49.92 was 0.2% above the 2011 average.
Those annual growth rates remained below those recorded
before 2008, which was indicative of slower economic growth
since the global financial crisis, he said.
One of the promising features of 2012 was the relatively
''We hope to see this momentum continue into 2013.''
Paymark realised the going was still tough for retailers, Mr
At a glance
Otago December retail spending
• 2011: 4.43 million transactions; valued at $243.7 million.
• 2012: 4.61 million transactions valued at $252.5 million.