Kiwis hitting cafes, restaurants and liquor stores in the
lead-up to Christmas helped lift the country's electronic
spend last month, according to latest figures.
Credit and debit card spending through the Paymark electronic
network, which processes about 75 per cent of all
transactions in New Zealand, rose 1 per cent in November
compared to the previous month.
Kiwis' total spending was 4.6 per cent higher in terms of
annual growth compared to November 2011.
Figures suggest the party season is getting underway, with
spending jumping annually at cafes and restaurants by 9.3 per
cent and liquor retailers by 10 per cent.
This sharp increase could in part be attributed to November
2012 having one more Friday than November last year, said
Paymark's head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston.
But the increase in pre-Christmas spending was following the
same patterns seen in recent years, he said.
"Looking at the past five years, this increase is in line
with the average November spending trends, however despite
the increase we are aware that for many retailers it is still
"Based on historic figures, we expect the real rush is yet to
The last seven days of November were 10.4 per cent higher
than the last seven days of October.
"It's great to see Kiwis getting into the Christmas spirit
and spending across a diverse range of sectors; we hope to
see retailers reaping the benefits in the coming weeks,"
Figures from 2007 to 2011 show that spending tends to jump an
average 27 per cent from November to December.
New Zealanders continued to spend on housing-related items
last month, with hardware stores seeing 10.4 per cent annual
Other sectors to experience growth above the 4.6 per cent
national average included automotive outlets (7.9 per cent)
and clothing shops (6.5 per cent).
Whistson suggested the latter increase was a result of people
looking for the perfect outfit for their workplace Christmas
The highest regional growth in annual spending was in the
Waikato, up 6.5 per cent.
Canterbury was next with 5.7 per cent growth and
Auckland/Northland saw a 5.2 per cent lift in electronic
Across the country last month, the total number of card
transactions was 5.1 per cent higher than a year ago.
Debit card usage was up 5.2, increasing faster than credit
card usage (4.9 per cent) for the second month in a row.
- Ben Chapman-Smith of nzherald.co.nz