Credit, debit card spending up in November

Good weather and Black Friday bargains also helped bolster card spending in November.

New Zealand retail spending on electronic cards rose in November, boosted by higher fuel prices and as the US Thanksgiving 'Black Friday' holiday bargains gain international traction.

Seasonally adjusted total retail spending on credit and debit cards – including vehicle-related spending – increased 1.2% in November, accelerating from a revised 0.5% a month earlier, Statistics New Zealand said in a statement. Total spending, including non-retail industries, rose 1.4% on the month after rising 0.7% in October.

Fuel prices reached a three-year high in November and drivers spent 5% more at the pump on the year in November, as higher petrol prices saw retail card spending on fuel rise by $28 million to $591 million, Statistics NZ said.

"Good weather and Black Friday bargains also helped bolster card spending in November," retail manager Sue Chapman said. Black Friday, an American retail event following Thanksgiving, has become more common in New Zealand in recent years. Retailers offer specials on the Friday following Thanksgiving, and many sales extend throughout the weekend.

Spending rose in all six industries for the first time since January 2017. The largest movement was in the fuel industry followed by durables, which rose 1.2% or $14 million. Hospitality spending lifted 1.2% or $12 million while apparel spending rose $8.1 million or 2.7% and expenditure on consumables rose 0.5% or $10 million. Motor vehicle spending lifted 1% or $1.7 million.

Today's figures show actual total retail spending climbed 4.3% to $5.42 billion in November from the same month a year earlier. Card-holders across all industries made 147 million transactions in November versus 143 million in October. The average value lifted to $50 from $48 in October.