The lockdown lowdown: What New Zealanders spent their money on

Jessica Satherley
The lockdown lowdown: What New Zealanders spent their money on
Kiwis spent the Level 4 lockdown binge-ing on Netflix and pining after fast food.

Kiwis spent the Level 4 lockdown binge-ing on Netflix, hiring movies online and pining for fast food, Westpac transactional data suggests. 

Transactional daily spending data is monitored in real time by Westpac’s technology team and when anonymised and aggregated by sector, a sample of the data gives a good indication of what Kiwis are spending on. 

Digital subscriptions and digital goods including media, books, movies and music increased massively in the lead up to Level 4 and stayed at a high level throughout and into Level 3. 

Digital media graph

Digital media and online subscriptions boomed in Level 4 of lockdown

As soon as the country moved into Level 2, those digital subscriptions dropped back down to less than pre-lockdown transaction figures. 

Instead, fast food chains that had lost all their sales during Level 4 due to being closed, rocketed back up to greater than pre-lockdown numbers as soon as they reopened in Level 3. 

“A benefit of this data is that we can see spending behaviour, which can help us cater our systems to customers’ behaviour,” Westpac Tech Area Lead Hamish King says. 

One industry that continued to have high and consistent daily transactions throughout each level of lockdown was gambling, including lottery tickets and betting. 

Gambling graph

Gambling saw steady transactions all through lockdown

Whereas hair salons saw one of the highest booms out of any industry when New Zealand left Level 4 lockdown and entered Level 2. 

When barber and beauty shops reopened after lockdown, daily transactions doubled that of figures prior to Covid-19 even being an issue.  

Salons graph

Salons and barbers saw one of the highest booms after lockdown

As soon as restaurants, bakeries and cafes reopened at Level 2, supermarket daily transactions nose-dived. 

Instead of shopping at supermarkets, New Zealanders ate out, bringing daily transactions at eateries close to pre-lockdown numbers. 

Supermarkets graph

Supermarket transactions nose-dived when restaurants reopened

Despite stores reopening, shopping services online and at bricks and mortar locations decreased once we moved into Level 2. 

Most New Zealanders stopped paying for their gym memberships during Level 4, which lead to a spike in transactions per day on sports memberships, including gyms and golf clubs, as soon as Level 2 came in. 

However, the number of sports memberships didn’t increase overall, but rather returned to what they were pre-Covid-19. 

Restaurants graph

Restaurant transactions steadily increased after lockdown ended

*This transactional data only represents 50% of total transactions observed by Westpac. 

Information aggregated on customer transactional data is anonymous and does not breach an individual’s privacy. 

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