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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Spending on furniture, electrical, and hardware goods surges  Media release

11 June 2020

Card spending on furniture, electrical, and hardware goods surged to unusually high levels in May, after a big drop in April, Stats NZ said today.

The actual value of card spending on furniture, electrical, and hardware goods rose to $674 million in May, $93 million (16 percent) higher than May 2019. This came after falling to a low of $138 million in April, during the COVID-19 level 4 lockdown.

When adjusted for seasonal effects, spending on furniture, electrical, and hardware goods rose $573 million in May, following a $490 million fall in April.

“This brought furniture and hardware spending to a higher level than usual, which could be due to pent-up demand because such non-essential businesses were closed during the level 4 lockdown in April,” retail statistics manager Kathy Hicks said.

Businesses re-opened as New Zealand moved to alert level 3 near the end of April and then to level 2 halfway through May.

“People may have been waiting to buy hardware to finish off DIY projects started during lockdown.”

Lower-level card spending

Stats NZ is continuing to release lower-level electronic card data to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on consumer spending.

Eating out heads up but accommodation remains quiet

There was a strong rebound in buying takeaways and eating out in May as we moved to alert level 2. Accommodation was still a fraction of pre-COVID levels, reflecting the lack of international visitors.

Liquor and specialised food sales rebound

“Sales of liquor and specialised food picked up again as these stores re-opened, while supermarkets continued with their strong sales,” Ms Hicks said.

In a typical month, spending on liquor and specialised food combined is around 17 percent of total consumables spending. In April, this figure fell to just 5.5 percent, largely recovering to 15 percent in May.

See Electronic card transactions: May 2020 for more detail and to download data.

Key travel restrictions and COVID-19 Alert system timeline

19 March 2020: New Zealand’s borders closed to almost all travellers, except for returning New Zealanders.

23 March 2020: New Zealand enters COVID-19 alert level 3

25 March 2020: New Zealand enters COVID-19 alert level 4

27 April 2020: New Zealand enters COVID-19 alert level 3

13 May 2020: New Zealand enters COVID-19 alert level 2

MIL OSI