Kiwibank Household Spending Tracker - homes the hot spending ticket, but port problems frustrate


Kiwibank’s December quarter Household Spending Tracker has revealed that New Zealanders are continuing to spend up large on their homes inside and out but can’t get enough of some imported items as supply chain problems grow.

The quarterly tracker measures aggregated transactional data from Kiwibank debit and credit cards.

Kiwibank Economist Mary Jo Vergara says the post-Covid lockdown splurge continues with spending up a whopping 48% compared to the December quarter in 2019.

“We have also seen a surge in the use of cards as consumers choose them as their preferred payment method over cash, and shop online rather than in stores,” she said.

“The holiday break has freed up time for repairs and renovations. And with overseas holidays a no go, there’s still money spare for sprucing up homes, updating furniture, fittings and upgrading electronic devices - if you can get hold of them.

“It’s clear that supply chain problems, like those we saw at Ports of Auckland before Christmas along with manufacturing shortages offshore are making it harder for Kiwi to buy some things like sporting goods and bikes.”

She said the data showed New Zealanders were making the most of summer.

“It’s not just spa pools and decks, demand was especially strong for durable items including household goods and furnishings; spending was up 24% in the December quarter and a huge 92% on an annual basis. DIY spending has outpaced 2019 levels and is up an annual rate of 91%,” she said.

Vergara said people were feeling wealthier because of soaring house prices and that was underpinning the strength in household-related spending.

“With house prices showing no sign of easing in the short term, this should continue to boost spending for some time yet.”

Key spending trends from the December quarter data also reveal:

  • Retail spend was strong during the December quarter, with many getting their Christmas shopping in early. Spending on alcohol and meat was notably high, up a combined 22% quarter on quarter.
  • Spend in December fell as retailers had difficulty getting hold of stock. Spend on sporting goods and bicycles was down 5% and 18% on an annual basis, respectively.
  • Supply chain issues and delays at the ports is likely to impact March quarter growth and have a lagged effect on spending.
  • Domestic spending on hospitality and accommodation was up with Kiwis holidaying at home. But overall spend was down due to the lack of foreign tourists.

Full analysis of the December Quarter Kiwibank Household Spending Tracker can be found here.

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