Electronic card spending dips in May

Electronic card spending has fallen in May showing an easing in domestic spending, data from Statistics NZ showed.

Retail spending using debit and credit cards dipped 0.5 per cent in May after a 0.6 per cent rise in April, which coincided with the timing of Easter and the school holidays.

Retail card spending fell in most industries, with one modest rise coming from the vehicle-related industry in the month of May.

“Card spending has slowed over the last three months,” said Sue Chapman, retail statistics manager.

“Since February 2019 we have seen relatively softer growth in the retail industries indicating an easing in domestic spending.”

Four industries fell this month, while one was relatively unchanged compared to April. Most of these industry falls were quite small, with values only reducing by $10 million or less in each group.

The largest decrease in card spending came from the durables industry which fell 0.8 per cent to $10 million. This industry includes furniture, hardware, appliances, computers, recreational-sporting goods, department stores, and pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing.

The next largest decrease came from grocery and liquor spending, down 0.4 per cent – a drop of $9 million).

Apparel and fuel industries have seen modest falls of less than $5 million, with the hospitality group showing relatively no change from April 2019.


Vehicles, excluding fuel, had seen a 0.9 per cent increase to $1.6 million, the only rise recorded.

Core retail spending, excluding vehicle-related industries, fell 0.5 per cent in May, after a 0.4 per cent rise in April.

The total value of electronic card spending, including the two non-retail categories, services and non-retail, rose 0.2 per cent in May, following a 0.4 per cent rise in April.

In actual terms, retail spending using electronic cards was $5.4 billion, up 3.2 per cent ($167 million) from May 2018.

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