The Rugby World Cup appears to have had little impact on spending on credit and debit cards last month, which crept up, according to government data.
Total spending on electronic cards rose 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted NZ$5.31 billion in September, according to Statistics New Zealand in the seventh monthly gain this year. Spending in core retail industries, which strips out vehicle related spending, rose 0.6% to NZ$3.35 billion.
“The Rugby World Cup does not appear to have had a significant impact on the electronic transactions data in September,” Statistics NZ said. “However, the data doesn’t include cash sales, or bank transfers, and payments for things like accommodation, ticket sales and hire vehicles may have been made several months in advance.”
The sports tournament has been heralded as a boon for retailers who have been struggling over the past couple of years amid tepid demand for consumer goods. Instead of using record-low interest rates to buy big ticket items, New Zealand households have been repaying debt. The RWC is expected to inject some NZ$700 million into the economy, though it’s unclear what the actual net benefit will be.
Spending on fuel was the biggest monthly gain, up 2.9% to NZ$588 million, followed by a 1.9% gain in apparel to NZ$276 million. Hospitality spending rose 1.2% to NZ$618 million, and expenditure on durable items gained 1.1% to NZ$981 million. Spending on services and consumable goods each rose 0.7% to NZ$164 million and NZ$1.47 billion respectively, while spending on vehicles excluding fuel was flat at $106 million. Electronic card spending on non-retail items fell 0.5% to NZ$1.13 billion in September.