New data from Westpac NZ shows a dramatic change in spending habits by New Zealanders in the first fortnight of lockdown.
Home meal kits and digital downloads were in hot demand as households readjusted to life within their own four walls, while shops such as bakeries and fast-food stores saw a massive drop off in business.
Westpac NZ Chief Experience Officer, Oliver Lynch, says Kiwis aren’t just spending money on different things than before, they’re also spending at different times of the day.
“Transaction levels between 10pm and midnight have been 61% lower than usual during lockdown, which reflects we’re not going out and socialising with friends, or perhaps that we’re just getting to bed earlier for a good night’s sleep,” Lynch says.
Spending on downloaded content doubles
“Spending on downloaded content from companies like Apple and Amazon as a proportion of all spending has more than doubled from 2.3% to 5%, while the share of transactions at specialty food markets like Farro and home-meal kit companies like Hello Fresh are up from 1.8% to 3.1%, a 72% increase in share.
“In other words, Kiwis are reading, binge-watching and cooking up a storm.”
Purchases were down 99% at bakeries and 97% at fast-food retailers, with vending machines making up much of the remaining spending. Transactions at building supply companies and service stations also dropped by 82% and 57% from their pre-lockdown levels respectively.
Supermarket spending accounted for 22% of all transactions – up from 16% in pre-lockdown times.
Bakeries, cafes and fast food are big losers
“It’s clear that many small businesses like bakeries and cafes have been hit hard by the latest lockdown,” Lynch noted.
He added that Westpac has moved to help these businesses with support options like temporary overdrafts to help them manage cashflow issues. It has also waived minimum merchant service fees for small businesses during September and October.
And with more people shopping online during lockdown, the bank says it’s important for Kiwis to stay vigilant against fraud and scams.
“When buying online, investigate the website you’re buying from to make sure it’s legitimate. It can be as simple as typing the name of the product or retailer into Google along with the word “scam” – if it’s a scam, there will usually be information about it already online,” Lynch advised.