21 Sep 2021

Consumers 'cautiously optimistic' despite lockdowns - report

12:38 pm on 21 September 2021

Consumer confidence is down, but households are largely taking the latest lockdown in their stride.

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Photo: RNZ

The Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index fell 4.4 points in September, taking it to a level of 102.7.

However, the drop was more modest than [https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/417854/consumers-slightly-more-confident-this-month when Covid first hit New Zealand.

"Perhaps the knowledge that New Zealanders have got through tough times before has helped consumers remain broadly, albeit cautiously, optimistic about their own and New Zealand's economic future," market research director at McDermott Miller Imogen Rendall said, adding younger people were still confident, while people between 30 and 49 were far less confident.

Despite the drop, most households still expected their financial situation to improve over the coming year.

Westpac acting chief economist Michael Gordon said that bode well for the strength of economic demand once alert level settings were eventually dialled back.

"Auckland posted a large fall, with Alert Level 4 restrictions remaining in place through the survey period. Unsurprisingly, tourist hotspots like Otago also saw confidence levels drop, as did Wellington and Canterbury," he said.

"In contrast, confidence levels have actually increased in North Island regions like the Bay of Plenty and Manawatū-Whanganui."

Gordon said confidence in the regions could reflect the strength of the agricultural sector.

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