Timaru District Quarterly economic monitor - March 2020

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Consumer Spending

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Highlights for Timaru District

  • Electronic card consumer spending in Timaru District, as measured by Marketview, increased by 2.6% over the year to March 2020 compared to the previous year. This compares with an increase of 3.0% in New Zealand.

National overview

Consumer spending grew by a relatively modest 3.0% in the year to March 2020, with the rate of growth steadily easing since 2018. Spending in the March month was 4.5%pa lower after wild spending swings. Panic buying pushed spending levels up 24%pa on the day before Level 4 lockdown commenced, before quickly falling away over the rest of March, with spending down 63%pa.

Consumer spending will deteriorate substantially over the coming quarters, initially due to the lockdown period limiting consumers ability to spend, and subsequently due to a loss of consumer confidence as households face real or perceived concerns around job losses. With New Zealand’s borders closed, the forecast decline in migration will reinforce this downward trend.