Credit, debit and charge cardholders spent more last month.
Statistics New Zealand figures show spending using electronic cards rose a seasonally-adjusted 1% in January, after falls in November and December.
For the first time in a year, spending increased across all groups.
Electronic cards data covers about 60% of all retail sales and is a key measure of monthly retail activity.
Despite the increase, Goldman Sachs economist, Philip Borkin says households remain cautious about spending.
He expects electronic spending to continue at similar levels in the coming months.