sign up log in
Want to go ad-free? Find out how, here.

It seems the lockdown period and subsequent changes to working patterns have helped push us towards hypochondria - and given us sore necks and bad backs

It seems the lockdown period and subsequent changes to working patterns have helped push us towards hypochondria - and given us sore necks and bad backs

Well, that was one we didn't see coming - but perhaps should have.

Kiwibank economists' crunching of their own customers' spending data is showing some interesting trends about our spending patterns post Covid-lockdown. Apparently we've been getting sore necks and bad backs - and we're spending more time at the pharmacists than might necessarily be considered a good idea.

According to Kiwibank economist Mary Jo Vergara, Kiwibank customer spending data for the June quarter shows a spike in spending at chiropractors, massage parlours, doctors and pharmacists "as we seek to iron out the kinks and creaks".

"Seemingly endless zoom calls now dominate our day. After tiringly staring at a Brady bunch of faces, furiously smiling with intent, we have kinks in our neck. And we’re rushing out to snap ourselves back into alignment.

"...Maybe we need to invest a little more in ergonomic home office furniture," she says

"In the face of the Covid crisis, our own health has been put under the microscope. And judging by the spike in health-related spend, we’ve become a little hypochondriacal. We’re spending more time at the gym, visiting the doctor more often, and browsing the pharmacy shelves looking for the new concoction to take."

The graphs below tell the story:

In terms of overall spending patterns, Vergara says it’s clear that the limited impact of the Covid lockdowns has supported household confidence, and in turn consumption.

"Kiwibank’s transactional data suggests that the strong spend seen over summer has continued. Total credit and debit card spend rose 7.2% in the June quarter."

The inability to travel overseas continues to funnel spending into the local economy. Kiwi are still upgrading their homes and cars.

Vergara says the data suggests that domestic demand remains strong.

"Improved confidence around job security has undoubtedly supported household consumption. And our ability to sidestep covid outbreaks allows for greater freedom of movement. There are a few signs to suggest that the strength in demand is waning. At the same time, firms are facing rising costs. Materials are stuck in transit and firms are fighting over an evaporating pool of skilled workers. Strong demand and strained supply creates an environment primed for price increases. Rampant cost pressures point to rising inflation, if only temporary."

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

14 Comments

Some organisations have policies now allocating,say, Monday Tuesday to WFH, while Weds -Fri in office, which seems to work well.
Others have given no options since the 2020 lockdown.

Up
0

My boss recently told me to pick a day to work from home once a week. Chose Friday as it provides a nice wind down before the weekend, particularly for the long distance commute.

Up
0

A good thing to see would be that companies will train young up comers to fill the rolls that immigrants would normally fill.

Up
0

Roughly the same number of visas are given out to foreign IT workers as the number of IT grads from NZ universities. But IT grads struggle to find jobs. Time for NZ business to start investing in the future instead of taking the expedient short term path.

Up
0

Massage parlour in blue could just be for a happy ending

Up
0

'Massage therapy' would have been a little more appropriate

Up
0

Massage parlour in blue could just reprieve for happy ending

Up
0

Massage parlour in blue could just reprieve for happy ending

Up
0

Not sure about causation here. Dental spending which should act as a control is also up. Could be something else at play than unergonomic chairs?

Up
0

Money saved on commuting being used towards health and wellbeing perhaps. Halving your bus fare/parking/train costs etc could easily pay for a few fillings that people may have been putting off.

Chiropractors could be because people who previously didn't work out now have time to go exercise before or after work instead of commuting.

Massage because why not if you have a little more disposible income.

Up
0

If its anything like my experience, its the direct result of being denied access to medical treatment for 7 weeks over lockdown. A simple repetitive strain injury that could not be treated because of lockdown caused it to become a signficant and serious problem that has taken over a year to sort out, and I'm still left with some remaining joint mobility issues. It also meant I was on painkillers for 5 months. Even turning up to A&E in the middle of lockdown I was told there was nothing they could do, because they werent allowed to do non-emergency imaging and I would just have to wait until after lockdown to get treatment. By then it was way too late. I feel sorry for all the people who had the same experience but ended up being diagnosed with cancer or something non-curable as a result. At least I have recovered and it was non-life threatening.

Up
0

I think you be on to something. Non-urgent medical treatment was delayed. Would explain the rise in dental treatment post lockdown as well. Sorry, to hear you health suffered. Went through the same with my husband. It was a long year for sure, but agree at least we did not have some life and death diagnosis such as cancer delayed.

Up
0

I think you be on to something. Non-urgent medical treatment was delayed. Would explain the rise in dental treatment post lockdown as well. Sorry, to hear you health suffered. Went through the same with my husband. It was a long year for sure, but agree at least we did not have some life and death diagnosis such as cancer delayed.

Up
0

Dp

Up
0