Electronic card spending has risen by its highest amount in four years.
The payments provider Paymark says spending in the first six months of the year rose by 4.6% compared with the first half of last year.
The figure exceeds the annual average growth rate in the first six months of the previous four years, implying a gradual economic pickup.
Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston says spending in the sectors varies widely. The strong housing market is generating more spending on hardware, plumbing, furniture and floor covering, he says, but where internet competition is strong - as it is for travel firms, bookshops and music retailers - spending has declined.
Mr Whiston says Canterbury again led the regions with its spending rising by more than 8%, while the growth rate fell on the West Coast and was flat in Southland.