New data from Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) shows card spending in Auckland has risen 28 per cent in the first full week of COVID-19 Alert Level 3, to Tuesday 28 September. Nationwide, total card spending has rebounded to just five per cent below pre-lockdown levels.
BNZ Chief Economist, Paul Conway, says, “The move down to Alert Level 3 in Auckland has seen a big uptick in spending in the city, as people enjoy more freedoms and more businesses are able to operate, rebounding by 28 per cent. This however is still 22 per cent below pre-lockdown levels for the city.
“Outside of Auckland, card spending has rebounded with the move to Alert Level 2 by a massive 57 per cent. This has been driven by a strong surge in face-to-face transactions, buoyed along by the increased freedoms of Alert Level 2. This has almost entirely offset the lower spending in Auckland, with nationwide card spending levels now sitting just five per cent below pre-lockdown levels,” says Conway.
Average weekly consumer spend through delta alert levels – Auckland and the rest of New Zealand
“Online spending has increased compared to pre-lockdown levels too, rising from 23 per cent of transactions to 26 per cent now. Just how durable this is will remain to be seen as Auckland is able to get to lower Alert Levels, but so far shows the importance of businesses having a strong digital operation to match rising digital consumer demand.
Conway says the data is showing very encouraging signs, with spending continuing to rebound.
“It’s clear that lowering the Alert Level sends a spending pulse through the economy, and this is particularly true of Alert Level 2. The experience outside of Auckland suggests another strong pulse will hit the economy when the city manages to join the rest of the country at Alert Level 2, though the full impact remains to be seen,” says Conway.
The full report can be found here.