Card spending up
Retail card spending rose in the motor-vehicle industry in the March quarter, up $9.9 million or 1.9 per cent on the December 2018 quarter.
Total retail card spending rose 1.0 per cent in the March 2019 quarter. This increase followed a 0.3 per cent decrease in the December 2018 quarter, according to the latest Stats NZ figures.
In actual terms, total retail card spending was $16 billion in the March 2019 quarter, up $395 m, or 2.5 per cent, from the March 2018 quarter.
The motor-vehicle industry saw a rise in retail card spending in January 2019, up $9.9m or 1.9 per cent on the December 2018 quarter.
Spending rose across five of the six retail industries when compared to the December 2018 quarter. The largest movements were in the durables industry, up $61m or 1.6 per cent, the consumables industry up $60m or 1.0 per cent and the hospitality industry, up $41.0m or 1.3 per cent.
Fuel retail card spending fell 6.2 per cent, or $116m, from the December 2018 quarter.
“The fall in fuel retail spending was driven by the lowest fuel prices since October 2017, coming after the high of more than $2.40 a litre in late 2018,” says retail statistics manager Sue Chapman.
“Fuel prices dropped to just over $2 per litre in January 2019, rising to $2.20 by the end of the quarter.”
Retail spending down in March month
When adjusted for seasonal effects, total retail spending fell 0.3 per cent, or $17m, in the March 2019 month, after rises of 0.6 per cent and 2.0 per cent in the February and January months respectively.
The decrease is largely attributed to the fall in the durables industry, down 1.9 per cent.
Only the consumables and fuel retail industries recorded increases in retail card spending when compared with February 2019. Motor-vehicle spending was down $2.5m, or 1.4 per cent and the apparel industry was decreases of $9.0m, or 2.9 per cent.
Retail card spending statistics covers all debit, credit, and charge card transactions with New Zealand-based merchants. It can be used to indicate changes in consumer spending and economic activity.