Kiwis have kicked the shopping year off to a good start, spending $191 million - 5.1 per cent - more last month compared to January 2012, Paymark says.
Paymark, which processes about three-quarters of electronic retail payments in New Zealand, says that from December to January, spending increased a seasonally adjusted 0.6 per cent, the fourth consecutive monthly spending gain.
Paymark chief executive Simon Tong said January's increase was an encouraging start to the year after spending rose only a modest 2.3 per cent year-on-year, in December.
"We're pleased that the spending momentum that was evident in the last quarter has extended beyond the busy shopping season," he said.
Spending growth last month was strongest in building industry-related retail, with shopping at plumbing outlets, and hardware and home decorating stores up 17.8 per cent and 11.6 per cent respectively, compared to January 2012.
Shoppers also spent up on health-related goods and services, with spending at dentists, medical centres, optometrists and pharmacies all up strongly year-on-year.
Car-related spending also saw a significant boost compared to January last year.
But accommodation providers and consumer electronics stores did not fare so well, recording below-average annual spending growth for the month.
Regionally, Canterbury had the biggest spending increase, up 8 per cent year-on-year.
Waikato and Wairarapa followed on 7.6 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively.
Spending in Auckland/Northland rose 5.1 per cent year-on-year, while Wellington saw more modest growth of 3.3 per cent.
The West Coast of the South Island saw spending shrink year-on-year - by 3.1 per cent - while in Southland it was up a relatively subdued 2 per cent.
Nationwide, the volume of card transactions was 6.3 per cent higher last month, on January 2012. The value of credit card spend was up 6.4 per cent, while the value of debt card spend rose 6.2 per cent.
- © Fairfax NZ News