Wholesale trade sales fell $2.7 billion (10 percent) in June 2020 quarter, after most businesses shut temporarily during the COVID-19 lockdown in April, Stats NZ said today.
“This is the largest decrease in wholesale trade sales since the series began 25 years ago,” business statistics manager Kathy Hicks said.
“The widespread falls across most of the wholesale industries in the June quarter reflected the impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown for nearly all of April and limited trading in May,” Ms Hicks said.
“The falls covered several wholesaling businesses, including forestry timber suppliers and car dealers, all of which had to close during the lockdown.”
The largest fall was for the basic materials industry, down $948 million (16 percent) from the June 2019 quarter. This industry includes petroleum product, timber, hardware goods, metal and mineral, and agricultural product wholesaling.
“Within basic materials, petroleum product had the largest fall, due to lower international fuel prices and less demand for fuel in April and May with travel restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19,” Ms Hicks said.
The second largest fall was motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts industry, down 33 percent ($917 million) from the June 2019 quarter.
“Motor vehicle and parts had the largest percentage fall in sales, compared with the same time last year, bringing sales down to levels last seen in 2013,” Ms Hicks said.
The number of new car registrations in the June 2020 quarter was down 38 percent (21,753 registrations) from the June 2019 quarter.
See Infoshare, industry sectors, transport, for more data.
The only wholesale industry to see an increase in sales was grocery, liquor, and tobacco wholesaling up $329 million (3.7 percent) from the June 2019 quarter.
“Supermarkets stayed open during the lockdown period, and the industry was also sustained by booming exports of kiwifruit,” Ms Hicks said.
Grocery, liquor, and tobacco wholesaling includes suppliers and exporters of food and beverages, such as kiwifruit and apples.
The actual value of total wholesale trade sales was $25 billion in the June 2020 quarter.
Business Data Collection June 2020 quarter data, released today, contains financial business data covering most of New Zealand’s economy. It provides indicators of sales, purchases, salaries and wages, and operating profit.