New Zealanders are impulse spending $16.1 million a day according to an online survey commissioned by Westpac New Zealand.
The survey, conducted by Buzz Channel Group, showed Kiwis are impulse spending a median of $5 a day. Across the 18 year-old+ population that equates to nearly $674,000 an hour; $16.1 million a day. Supermarkets, cafes and fast food outlets are the main places where impulse spending takes place while bigger ticket items such as computer and video games, shoes and perfume are also purchased on a whim.
"This is money that is spent without any thought or planning and raises the question of how much better of would we be as individuals and a country if we could save as impulsively as we spend?" said David McLean, Chief Executive Officer, Westpac Institutional Bank.
"We all have our dreams, some big, some small - buying a home, a new pair of shoes, retirement - and those dreams could be a little easier to achieve if we saved more. Resisting the urge to impulse spend at the levels New Zealanders are would certainly help."
The survey showed that the recession has had little impact with 54% of respondents saying they impulse spend about the same amount on a weekly basis as they did before the financial crisis. The volume of impulse spending is approximately 9% of the total amount spent in the economy daily.
In addition, 49% either don't have a savings account or if they do haven't used it for a while or only occasionally use it.
"New Zealanders have traditionally not been good at saving," Mr McLean said. "But one of the lessons from the recession is that regular saving and a nest egg can help create personal and household stability and, on a wider scale, contribute to a more balanced economy.
"Impulse saving, rather than impulse spending, is one way to achieve that and help make those dreams come true a little quicker and a little easier."
Westpac are in the final stages of testing an industry leading impulse saving iPhone app to help New Zealanders save as impulsively as they spend.
Survey Fact Box New Zealanders impulse spend $16.1m per day Equates to $674,000 on impulse spending per hour 54% have not changed their impulse spending despite the recession
Have a savings account and how often use it? No (don't have a savings account) 13.45% Yes, but haven't put anything in it for a while 16.18% Yes, only occasionally put money in it 19.69% Yes, regularly put money in 50.68%
Where most impulse spending is done Supermarkets 56% Fast food outlets 20.50% Caf 20.10%
Savings Record - New Zealand vs. The World NZ is 23rd out of 29 in the OECD for national savings rate (household, business, Government). Those below NZ are Slovak Republic, USA, Hungary, Iceland, Portugal, Greece) NZ households owe, on average, $1.60 for every $1 earned Treasury says our low savings contributes to NZ's undeveloped capital markets, high average interest rates, and high debt levels and leaves us exposed to the risk of falling foreign-investor confidence.
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