Peter Fieger – ChristchurchNZ economist
The move from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 in mid-May prompted an increase in spending across Ōtautahi Christchurch.
Retail spending in Christchurch – May 2020
In the period from 14 to 31 May 2020, spending in Christchurch increased 9 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. The country moved to Alert Level 2 at 11.59pm on Wednesday 13 May 2020.
For the entire month of May 2020, overall spending in the city was 15 per cent lower than May 2019, and down 39 per cent in the central city core.
Between 26 March and 27 April, when the country was at Alert Level 4, all but essential businesses and services were operating. This severely dampened consumer spending.
As the country moved to Alert Level 2 on 14 May, and business and hospitality restrictions were lifted, consumer spending largely returned to pre-COVID-19 levels and in some cases exceeded 2019 spending figures. These figures can be seen as artificially high due to pent-up consumer demand following lockdown. This is likely to soften in coming months.