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Retail Spending in Christchurch March 2020

By: Peter Fieger, Senior Economist ChristchurchNZ


Spending in Christchurch’s central city core was down 24 per cent to $15m in March 2020, compared to the same month last year.

Christchurch saw an overall spending decrease of 5 percent for March 2020 to $442m compared with the same month last year.

The period March 23 to March 31 (following the closure of all but essential businesses/ services) spending in Christchurch fell 34% compared to the same period last year.

Retail spending in March 2020 was influenced by the COVID-19 crisis. Total spending in Christchurch reached $442m in March 2020, 5 percent down on the same month last year.

Since March 23, all but essential businesses and services continued operations dampening consumer spending activity in the later part of the month. It is therefore useful to also take a closer look at daily activity to better analyze the impact of COVID – 19 on consumer spending. For the period of March 23 to March 31 2020, compared to the same time last year, spending in Christchurch fell 34%. (Figure 1)

In the days leading up to lockdown you can see locals of Greater Christchurch (Christchurch City, Waimakariri and Selwyn) were spending more money elsewhere (Figure 2). However, upon the announcement of lockdown level 4 you can see a jump in local spending locally, as residents prepare to lockdown, and then a sharp fall in spending as all non-essential businesses close.


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