Spending on Valentine’s Day (14th February) through Paymark totalled $204 million, up $10 million or 5.3% on the level of spending on the previous Thursday (7th February). Florists (+378%), Jewellers (+70%) and Restaurant/cafes (+23%) were up strongly on the day (vs previous Thursday). In dollar terms, the largest increase was amongst Restaurant/café merchants (+$3.1 million).

Darren Hopper, Head of e-Commerce, Digital Experience & Marketing at Paymark says, spending on loved ones doesn’t go out of style.

“Our figures suggest Valentine’s Day was again full of romance. People increased their spending on the day. They wined and dined and they exchanged flowers and jewellery. They even put aside time to give to strangers,” says Darren, alluding to the increase in spending on charities, up 4.0% on the week previously.

Other merchant groups showing an increase on Valentine’s Day included Taxis (+29%), Music stores (+23%), Gift stores (+18%), Liquor (+24%), Book/video (+9%), Motels (+15%), Charities (+4%) and Marine equipment (+5%). Paymark data cannot identify the reason for the increase between the two Thursdays but a similar pattern was evident for the above-mentioned groups in both 2018 and 2019.

Overall, spending through Paymark has returned to a higher growth rate following the slow end to 2018. The level of spending in December was high but annual underlying growth rate slowed to 2.4%. Since then growth has risen to 5.6% in January and an even higher 6.6% in the first 14 days of February, both figures closer to the 5.9% average growth rate of the past five years. Sectors recording high growth in the first two weeks of February included Department stores (+20.3%), Liquor retailers (+15.1%) and housing-related shops (+9.7%).

However, not all merchants experienced growth through the Paymark network. Those recording annual declines in the last two weeks included Accommodation (-0.2%), Clothing and footwear (- 0.6%) and Electrical/electronic goods (-23.7%). “The early weeks of 2019 appear generally positive, judging by Paymark figures. The national spending growth rate has returned to trend with some merchant groups reporting double-digit annual growth,“ says Darren.

However the environment remains very competitive. “Heavily discounted sales are now common. Online spending, including payments to offshore parties which are not channeled through Paymark, is likely to be a key factor behind the weak clothing spending growth we are seeing. Likewsie online payments, plus Airbnb competition, will also be key factors in the Accommodation sector.“

“The early 2019 Paymark figures reinforce the positive but tough operating environment for merchants at present. There will be relief amongst many merchants to see spending growth return to trend lately but this does not make up for slow growth over the busiest spending month. And it does not take away the competitive forces at play and the need to keep up with payment trends.“ 

Figure 1: Paymark All Cards daily transaction data for Florists 1-14th February 2019

PAYMARK All Cards payments ($) for Valentine’s Day and previous Thursday
Sector 7-Feb-19 14-Feb-19 Change % Change $
Restaurants/cafe $13,520,087 $16,659,030 23.2% $3,138,943
Florists $273,173 $1,305,936 378.1% $1,032,762
Liquor retailing $3,648,287 $4,513,910 23.7% $865,624
Watch And Jewellery Retailing $796,958 $1,351,573 69.6% $554,615
Gift Stores $1,393,646 $1,638,892 17.6% $245,247
Motels $1,206,716 $1,385,284 14.8% $178,567
Beauty And Hairdressing $3,957,048 $4,085,856 3.3% $128,808
Bookshop/videos $1,413,557 $1,533,462 8.5% $119,904
Taxi $175,495 $225,684 28.6% $50,189
Pubs, Bars And Taverns $2,260,457 $2,309,607 2.2% $49,150
Music Stores $178,286 $219,553 23.1% $41,267
Marine Equipment Retailing $441,129 $462,060 4.7% $20,932
Charities $358,075 $372,330 4.0% $14,255


Paymark - Valentines Release Feb19 FINAL Page 3 of 3w

TOTAL NZ (including sectors
not listed above)
$194,223,006 $204,482,663 5.3% $10,259,656



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