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Aotearoa New Zealand sees dip in Boxing Day spending
Fri, 29th Dec 2023

New Zealand experienced a slight decline in consumer spending this Boxing Day, according to a new report issued by Wordline NZ. The company, which processes payments for Core Retail merchants, noted spending for the Boxing Day period reached $98.3m, representing a 0.6% decrease compared to 2022. Interestingly, this figure is still 2.4% higher than the 2019 spending.

Although the overall spending was slightly lower, Food & Liquor services experienced an uptick in revenue. Outlets within this sector, including cafés, takeaways, and bars, saw an impressive 14.1% increase in spending compared to last year, with the total reaching $14.6m.

The report also shed light upon the busiest shopping times. The peak transaction minute on Boxing Day occurred at 12:34 pm when a total of 6,074 payments were processed through the Wordline NZ network. Despite this seeming like a busy minute, it was significantly lower by 44% compared to the previous Friday, 22nd December, which Wordline NZ stated was the busiest shopping day of the year.

Bruce Proffit, Worldline NZ's Chief of Sales, commented on this year's spending behaviour. He acknowledged the slight drop in spending on Boxing Day could be disappointing for retailers. However, he noted that this is in alignment with the overall expenditure trends observed over the past six months.

Interestingly, not all regions experienced a decline in spending. The data showed considerable variations in Boxing Day spending growth across different areas of the country. The annual regional spending growth rates for Boxing Day were highest in Otago and Wairarapa, with impressive gains of 9.4% and 8.5% respectively. Conversely, Wellington witnessed the largest decline in spending, with a significant decrease of 10.8%. These geographical variations highlight the complex and multifaceted nature of consumer behaviour across the nation.

WORLDLINE All Cards underlying* spending for CORE RETAIL less HOSPITALITY merchants for 26th Dec 2023
  Value Underlying* Underlying*
Region transactions $millions Annual % change on 2022 Annual % change on 2019
Auckland/Northland 39.9 -0.6% 1.6%
Waikato 8.5 2.1% 13.3%
BOP 6.6 -6.4% -7.5%
Gisborne 0.7 -2.9% 48.1%
Taranaki 2.0 -3.8% 11.6%
Hawke's Bay 2.9 -3.5% -6.6%
Whanganui 1.1 3.1% 15.1%
Palmerston North 2.8 1.8% 8.2%
Wairarapa 0.8 8.5% -2.9%
Wellington 7.4 -10.8% -12.4%
Nelson 2.1 7.2% 8.2%
Marlborough 1.3 0.3% 0.7%
West Coast 0.6 3.7% 9.7%
Canterbury 12.2 1.0% 8.7%
South Canterbury 1.5 -1.6% 5.4%
Otago 6.0 9.4% 5.2%
Southland 1.9 0.6% 1.9%
New Zealand 98.3 -0.6% 2.4%

Figure 1: All Cards NZ annual underlying* spending growth through Worldline on Boxing Day for regional core retail excluding hospitality merchants (* Underlying excludes large clients moving to or from Worldline)