Fast Facts

Electronics spending up, clothing falls in March 2018 quarter

Consumers spent more on electronics and appliances, but less on clothing and footwear in the March 2018 quarter, Stats NZ said.

Overall, retail spending in the first three months of the year was relatively flat despite rising job numbers, high migration, and record international tourism.

After adjusting for price and seasonal effects, total retail sales volumes rose a modest 0.1 percent. This follows the 1.4 percent increase in the December 2017 quarter, when there were more industry increases across the board.

“Steady growth in sales volumes for electronics and appliances have led the rise this quarter,” retail trade manager Sue Chapman said. “There has been sustained growth in this industry for some time, with sales trends rising over the past ten years.”

Of the 15 retail industries, seven had higher sales volumes in the March 2018 quarter, and eight experienced lower sales volumes. The largest industry increase came from a record dollar value rise in electrical and electronic goods retailing (up 5.4 percent).

Other industries with large movements were:

  • supermarket and grocery stores (up 1.0 percent)
  • pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing (up 2.7 percent)
  • clothing, footwear, and accessories, which had the largest decrease (down 5.0 percent).

Retail sales values reflect a modest rise in March 2018

When the effects of price changes are included, total retail sales values rose 0.2 percent ($58 million) in the March 2018 quarter, following the 1.7 percent ($379 million) rise in the December 2017 quarter.

Of the 15 retail industries, seven recorded higher sales values and eight lower sales values in the March 2018 quarter.

Fuel retailing had the largest rise, up 3.4 percent ($70 million). This is the second consecutive sales value increase for fuel after a 4.3 percent ($84 million) rise in the December 2017 quarter. The fuel value series includes the rising and volatile price changes for this industry.

The largest decreases in the March 2018 quarter were clothing, footwear, and accessories, down 5.1 percent ($49 million) and motor-vehicle and parts retailing, down 1.1 percent ($38 million).

In actual terms, the value of total retail sales was $23.1 billion in the March 2018 quarter, up 3.4 percent ($757 million) from the March 2017 quarter.

Source: Stats NZ

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