28 Nov 2022

Black Friday shoppers spend less this year in 'cautionary note' for Christmas retail

12:09 pm on 28 November 2022
Black Friday sales Sylvia park mall in Auckland

Consumers spent $67 million on Black Friday, down 6.9 percent on a year ago, according to data from payment network Worldline NZ. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Consumers were less free spending in last week's Black Friday, according to new numbers.

Payment network Worldline New Zealand said shoppers spent $67 million on the day, down 6.9 percent on a year ago, excluding hospitality, food and liquor.

Local retailers have latched on to Black Friday, an American tradition after the Thanksgiving holiday, in recent years offering special deals to the extent it has come to match the more traditional Boxing Day sales.

In the week ended 26 November, shoppers spent $350m, down 9.5 percent on last year although ahead of Black Friday in 2019 before the Covid pandemic hit.

Worldline said this could be a forerunner of things to come.

"[This is] offering a cautionary note ahead of the expected busier Christmas shopping period to come."

Black Friday sales Sylvia park mall in Auckland

Shoppers spent more on clothing and footwear but turned away from bigger ticket items on Black Friday. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Big ticket household items such as furniture, floor coverings, houseware and textile goods and hardware had the biggest drop in sales over the week, 20 percent below the year before.

But there was a 5 percent rise in clothing, footwear and personal accessory sales.

Auckland and Northland, which last year was affected by Covid-19 restrictions, had the biggest fall of 12 percent, but there were dips of 10 and 11 percent falls for Wellington, Bay of Plenty and Wairarapa.

The only region to post a rise in sales was Southland, with a 6 percent gain, although three other South Island regions were flat.

Worldline said the softness seen in Black Friday pointed to more subdued Christmas and summer holiday spending.

"It would be reasonable to infer, given rising consumer prices, falling house prices, rising interest rates and generally low consumer confidence, that fewer merchants will be setting Christmas spending records this year."

It said spending usually rose in the days before Christmas with a secondary but lesser surge on Boxing Day.

"Black Friday spending in recent years has been below the immediate pre-Christmas surge but above that of Boxing Day."

Last week, the Reserve Bank said a fall in consumer spending and overall economic demand would help bring down inflation and reduce the need for aggressive rises in interest rates.

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