Spending using electronic cards increased more than 2% in March, led by sales of big ticket items.
Latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show spending rose a seasonally-adjusted 2.2% compared to the month before - the biggest monthly increase in more than six years. The figure excludes car and fuel sales.
The increase was led by furniture and appliance purchases, as well as food, liquor and chemist products.
ASB economist Christina Leung says it is encouraging to see consumers buying big ticket items, as those sales were hit hard by the recession.
She says recent dips in consumer confidence may result in a fall in spending such items in the coming months.
Non-retail transactions, which include travel and health spending, fell 0.2%. Total transactions in March rose by 1.2%.
Spending on electronic cards has been increasing since January last year.