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Consumption goods continue upwards trend in January 2016

The value of consumption goods imported into New Zealand continues its upward trend, rising 12 percent in January 2016 compared with January 2015.

The rise appears to be caused by an increase in the amount of consumption goods New Zealanders are purchasing, rather than by higher prices, and may be a result of an increasing resident population in New Zealand.

Consumption goods are products that are purchased for consumption by New Zealanders. They are the end result of production and manufacturing. Products such as furniture, food, and gaming consoles are examples of consumption goods.

Value and quantity of consumption goods rising consistently

Since September 2014, monthly values of consumption goods have increased when compared with the same month of the previous year. Three-month-ended values have increased since October 2014, and year-ended values have increased since September 2013. The top three months for total monthly consumption goods values are all towards the end of 2015, with September 2015 as the series peak.

Graph showing the percentage value change of total consumption goods, compared with the same period of the previous year, March 2010 to January 2016.

The quantities of the largest consumption goods commodities have increased annually alongside the rise in value.

Comparing year-ended January 2016 to year-ended January 2013, the quantity of clothing articles has risen by 16 million (7.8 percent). The quantity of food items has risen by 99 million kilograms (13 percent), the quantity of beverages has risen by 12 million litres (14 percent), and the quantity of furniture items has risen by 418,000 (22 percent).

Rises in both the value and the quantity of consumption goods imports suggests that the rising value may be an effect of a higher quantities, rather than of higher prices.

Overseas trade indexes show similar story

Overseas Trade Indexes (Prices and Volumes) shows that the price of consumption goods has been relatively consistent, while the volume has been increasing.

A volume is the weighted average of the proportionate change in the quantity of a specific set of goods between two periods of time.

The price index has risen 4.1 percent over the past three years. The volume index has risen 20 percent over the same period. Consumption goods volumes have consistently increased since the March 2013 quarter, apart from a fall in the June 2015 quarter (0.5 percent), and a fall in the December 2015 quarter (0.4 percent).

This implies that New Zealanders are purchasing more consumption goods despite a small rise in the price, in turn boosting the total value of consumption goods near the end of 2015.

No preference change for consumption goods, but cellphones on the rise

When analysing consumption goods at a lower level, no change is apparent in the value of subgroups as a proportion of the total consumption goods value. This indicates New Zealanders are buying more of the same goods.

Both primary and processed consumption goods (food and beverages) in January 2016 did not significantly change as a proportion of the total consumption goods value when compared with January 2015.

Durable goods (such as furniture), semi-durable goods (such as clothing and footwear), and non-durable goods (such as perfumes and books) also showed no significant change as a proportion of the total consumption goods value when compared with January 2015.

The same trend is seen for the three months ended January 2016 and the year ended January 2016, and when analysing quantities of consumption goods.

Cellphones on the other hand, while defined as a capital good, have risen in value by 47 percent in January 2016 compared with January 2015. Cellphones as a proportion of the total capital goods value have been rising – from 5.2 percent in the year ended January 2015, to 6.7 percent in the year ended January 2016.

Population increase may be behind rise in purchasing

The cause of New Zealanders purchasing more may be simply the increase in population.

The resident population of New Zealand grew by 86,900 (1.93 percent) to 4.6 million in the year ended June 2015. This followed a 1.52 percent increase in the year ended June 2014 (see National Population Estimates: At 30 June 2015 release for more).

The population increase in 2015 was the highest percentage increase since 2003, when the increase was 1.99 percent.


Published 21 March 2016

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