31 Mar 2020

Figures show dramatic spending drop in first days of Covid-19 lockdown

3:33 pm on 31 March 2020

Spending through electronic payments dropped steeply on the first day of the Covid-19 lockdown compared with the same day a year ago.

Credit card payment EFTPOS

Spending dropped by two-thirds on the first day of level four restrictions, figures show. Photo: 123RF

Figures just released by Paymark - which monitors electronic payments - show spending dropped by two-thirds - 72 percent - on the first day of level four restrictions then remained down by similar levels for rest of the week.

Paymark said on the Monday and Tuesday before the midnight lockdown on 26 March, spending was up 50 percent as people stocked up at liquor outlets, hardware and homeware shops and recreational goods stores.

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It said the pre-lockdown spending splurge was not enough to offset the loss of sales later in the week for most merchants.

Across the non-food retailers, excluding pharmacies, spending was 28 percent below for the week to Sunday 29 March, compared with the same time last year.

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Otago experienced the largest drop in spending, followed by Auckland/Northland and Wellington.

Paymark figures show that across the board spending during the first week of lockdown dropped by a third to $907 million.

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