A listless job market has checked households' spending plans.
The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index fell for the second successive month.
The index fell about 1 point to 110.5 in October.
A reading above 100 shows optimism, and below it pessimism.
Slightly more people feel worse off, while fewer are upbeat about their financial prospects over the coming year, or think it's a good time to buy a big ticket item.
ANZ senior economist Mark Smith says higher unemployment and weak job ads, coupled with signs that major trading partners, China and Australia, are slowing, has curbed spending.
He says there is an underlying element of caution.
Mr Smith says the high New Zealand dollar and the competitive retail environment had made it a good time to buy major household appliances, but that's fallen back as consumers loose confidence in a strong economic turn-around.
He says the outlook is for moderate growth over the next six months.
Inflation expectations over the coming two years rose to 3.6%.
The composite growth indicator, which combines ANZ's business and consumer sentiment surveys, suggests growth of about 2%, compared with 2.2% in the last survey.