Kiwis spend up large over Xmas

Last updated 13:00 08/01/2014

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Spending in Nelson for the year finished on a high.

Electronic spending in the region through the Paymark network was up 5.9 per cent, which is $5.7 million more, to $102.9m between December 2012 and December 2013.

However, it wasn't as strong as the national rise of 7.5 per cent, which was the fastest year of growth since 2008.

Nelson's 5.9 per cent increase rated 10th equal with Hawke's Bay out of 17 regions. That was behind Gisborne's 9.9 per cent growth, Marlborough's 9.4 per cent and Palmerston North's 9 per cent.

Paymark, which processes around 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand, also recorded a strong seasonally adjusted month-on-month national spending result, increasing 1.7 per cent from November to December.

Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said the figures indicated a continued upswing in spending across 2013, culminating in a particularly buoyant Christmas period. "Following record-smashing spending on both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day it is not surprising to finish on such a high in December," he said.

High growth in December was recorded by pet stores (up 9.2 per cent), sporting/camping equipment stores (up 9.3%), footwear retailers (up 9.2) and watch/jewellery shops (up 8.7) and double-digit year-on-year growth was seen in furniture stores (up 11.5) and duty free shops (up 17.3).

"A lot of sectors have showed some strong spending patterns through the month of December and many retailers will be very pleased with the results," said Mr Whiston.

It also seems Kiwis (and tourists) were out and about catching up with friends and family around the country with the hospitality sector up 9.5 per cent, including significant growth in accommodation (+11.1 per cent) in contrast to no real year-on-year growth 12 months earlier.

Spending for the month was strongest in Gisborne, Marlborough and Palmerston North, but growth rates remained low in the West Coast (+2.7%) and Wellington (+3.3%). Nationwide during December, the volume of card transactions was 6.8 per cent higher than a year ago.

"During 2013, Paymark processed 986 million transactions, totalling $49.3 billion, over the 12 months. The average transaction value of $49.99 was 0.2 per cent above the 2012 average.

"For the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis we're seeing a significant increase in spending which should bring optimism for most Kiwi retailers, and hopefully we see this momentum continue into 2014," Mr Whiston said.

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- The Nelson Mail

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