Consumers spent a lot more on groceries and alcohol last month as the weather warmed up, statistics show.
Stats NZ said sales using credit and debit cards rose 3.5 percent in December, up $250 million, compared to the year earlier.
For the December 2020 quarter, actual retail card spending using electronic cards was $20 billion, up $816 million (4.3 percent) compared with the December 2019 quarter.
Consumers spent a lot more last month on groceries and alcohol as well as long-lasting goods.
Spending on groceries and alcohol rose 7.5 percent in the lead up to Christmas.
“The continued spending on groceries and liquor coincides with the first month of the summer holidays,” retail statistics manager Craig Liken said.
That was followed by a big rise in spending on durable goods, such as furniture, hardware and appliances.
“The boost in furniture and electrical goods, such as cellphones and laptops, reflects Kiwis spending on Christmas gifts and during Boxing Day sales,” Liken said.
However, spending on hotels, motels, and other accommodation was down 32 percent ($83 million) compared with December 2019.
“Low spending on accommodation coincides with the lack of international tourists because of Covid-19 travel restrictions,” Liken said.
Overall, annual card spending fell 0.2 percent last year over the year earlier, with a significant lull in spending during April and May.