Shoppers ended 2020 on a high after a year of lockdowns and closed borders

Last year was a mixed bag for retailers nationwide, with spending figures swinging wildly between lockdown and the Christmas season, according to eftpos company Paymark.

The June quarter, which included alert level 4 nationwide lockdown, saw the value of spending at retailers on the Paymark network drop 15.5 per cent compared with 2019.

But by December, spending for the year was up 5 per cent.

Retail spending across the eftpos network in 2020 was $42.6 billion, an increase of just 0.1 per cent.

The average value per transactions increased, from $39.04 to $42.58.

Retailers experienced the highs and lows of 2020 differently, according to Paymark.

Stores selling food and liquor remained strong throughout the year, growing 11.5 per cent last year.

On the flip side, spending on hospitality was down 4.5 per cent for the year.

Broken down further between accommodation providers, some of which also serve food and liquor, and the broader food and beverage services sector, which includes cafes, bars, and takeaways, the impact of the closed border is visible.

Spending in food and beverage services declined 12.1 per cent for the year by but was up 2.7 per cent in the December quarter.

Accommodation providers were down 30 per cent for the year.

Sellers of consumer goods such as computers, furniture, clothing and cosmetics, was down 3.2 per cent in spending over the course of 2020 overall, but grew 6.7 per cent in the last three months of the year.

Spending across the regions remained uneven for the year, with figures down 3.2 per cent in Auckland and Northland, 7.1 per cent in Otago, and 1.9 per cent in Southland, but up 10.7 per cent in the Wairarapa, 7.9 per cent in Wanganui, 6.2 per cent in Gisborne and 6 per cent in Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay.

First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson said there had definitely been winners and losers in 2020.

“Without a doubt, the fact that we had a void of spending opportunities for a period of time certainly had an impact on the spending numbers, followed by increased spending demand in the second half of the year,” he said.

The stock challenges many retailers faced could have dampened further growth, Wilkinson said.

It was unlikely that spending would continue to grow, he said.

“People are definitely spending money on looking after themselves but there will definitely be some trepidation with what is going on in the United Kingdom, in Australia and in the United States.”