6 Oct 2020

Post lockdown spending lift may not be repeated in final quarter

7:47 pm on 6 October 2020

The strong lift in consumer spending after the lockdowns ended may not be replicated going into the end of the year.

AB Corp produces bank and loyalty cards.

AB Corp produces bank and loyalty cards. Photo: 123RF

Kiwibank data shows spending on debit and credit cards rose 21 percent over the three months to September, as the first lockdown created pent-up demand.

The bank's chief economist, Jarrod Kerr, said spending rose in most retail sectors, with consumers choosing to spend a lot more on home improvements, along with food and drink.

"We're spending a lot more time at home, we've taken a good look at our backyard and thought maybe we should invest more in our home."

"Some people are upgrading ... the property market really has taken off but renovations, DIY, spending on furnishings are all up really quite strongly," Kerr said.

People also spent more on fresh produce, and alcohol as restrictions limited the opportunities to dine out but saved on transport as more people worked from home, Kerr said.

He said he expected another surge in consumer spending with the lifting of restrictions in Auckland.

However, he warned that overall economic uncertainty is expected to flatten spending in the final quarter.

"The bounce back in growth terms we've seen in the third quarter cannot be repeated in the fourth quarter because obviously we were coming out of lockdown ... so I think we'll just be trying to [maintain current levels]."

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