New Zealand spending on electronic cards grew in every sector for a second month running amid upbeat consumer confidence and increased government support for households.
Seasonally adjusted total retail spending on credit and debit cards rose 1.1 per cent, matching the increase in August. Core retail spending, which strips out expenditure on petrol and vehicles, also rose 1.1 per cent in September, a faster pace than the 0.9 per cent recorded in August.
Spending rose in all sectors in the month, led by 1.3 per cent gains in spending on services and other non-retail industries. Spending on consumable items rose 1 per cent and was up 0.9 per cent on apparel. Expenditure on vehicles and durable goods were each up 0.8 per cent, while spending on fuel and on hospitality each gained 0.4 per cent.
The widespread increases during the past two months follows the July introduction of the government's Families Package, targeting low-income households with financial support. However, it predates Auckland's regional fuel tax hike this month.
The ANZ Roy Morgan consumer confidence survey last month showed consumers were still in good heart, although households were less likely to buy big ticket items than they have been for the past three years.
And the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research's quarterly survey of business opinion showed retailers remained pessimistic as rising costs that they weren't able to pass on squeezed profitability.
Westpac Banking Corp senior economist Satish Ranchhod said he expects retail spending to continue rising, but at a more moderate pace.
"While spending is now being supported by the government's Families Package, disposable income growth still remains fairly modest," he said.
"In addition, many households are finding their spending power is being crimped by rising costs for necessities like fuel."
Today's data show actual spending on electronic cards rose to $6.92 billion in September, up 4.9 per cent from a year earlier. Of that, core retail spending was up 5.1 per cent to $4.39b. Spending on petrol jumped 11 per cent to $640 million and hospitality spending rose 7.3 per cent to $997m.
Credit cards were more popular than debit cards, accounting for 52.3 per cent of 143 million transactions, compared to 49.3 per cent of 137 million transactions in September last year. The value per transaction was $48, unchanged from a year earlier.
Reserve Bank data show total credit cards billings in New Zealand rose an annual 7.7 per cent to $3.73b in August while total advances outstanding was up 5.9 per cent at $7.17b.