Consumer confidence slipped again in September and is now at lows last seen during the global financial crisis (GFC).
The Westpac McDermott-Miller Consumer Confidence Index fell to a level of 95.1. That's down from 97.1 in June and the lowest level of consumer confidence since the financial crisis in 2008.
Confidence has now fallen 14.8 points over the last three quarters.
"The impact of the local lockdown in Auckland is clear, with consumer confidence in the Auckland urban area now at 90.0," said Imogen Rendall, market research director
of McDermott Miller.
This represented a fall of 3.9 points since the last quarter and a fall of 23.4 points over the last three quarters.
Those aged 18-29 have seen the largest drop in confidence across age groups since the last quarter, with a fall of 8.7 points.
"While 18- to 29-year-olds are still optimistic at 100.6, this fall in confidence suggests they are concerned about the future, including their job prospects, ability to travel and the increasing economic burden they, as a generation, may have to bear in the future," Rendall said.
It was no surprise that households remained concerned about the economic outlook, said Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens.
"Covid-19 has severely impacted the economy, and the road to recovery will be long. Consumers are no doubt concerned about rising joblessness, the ongoing border closure, and the recent flare up in Covid-19 infections," Stephens said.
"Low levels of consumer confidence were weighing on spending appetites, making it likely that consumer spending will remain sluggish through the final months of the year.
"Households are telling us that they've scaled back their spending on entertainment activities and they're also nervous about making major household purchases."
The survey polls nearly 1600 people on five key questions - gauging reactions from more optimistic to more pessimistic.
The questions are:
• Are you better or worse off financially than a year ago?
• Do you expect to be better or worse off financially in a year's time?
• Is now a good time to buy a major household item?
• Do you expect good or bad economic times over the next 12 months in NZ?
• Do you expect good or bad economic times over the next five years in NZ?