Nielsen’s latest report shows it’s not only the Australian retail sector benefitting from a growth in online sales. Our neighbours close by are also experiencing a boom.
Following the NAB Online Retail Sales Index, which revealed an increase in online sales for the Australian market during 2012, Nielsen’s latest Online Retail Report also indicated similar growth for New Zealand.
The report showed that 1.78 million New Zealanders were shopping online in 2012, with over 50 percent of adults contributing to NZ$3.7 billion of online sales in the past year. The figures are expected to reach two million by the end of this year, with an expected spend of NZ$4 billion. Kiwis are also buying more often than ever before, with over a quarter making 11 or more transactions.
Of this spend, international websites accounted for 26 percent, attributed to ever competitive pricing.
“Purchasing offshore continues to rise and highlights the concerns of New Zealand retailers about how they can effectively compete with sales to international websites,” says Tony Boyte, Nielsen’s Associate Director of Research.
The report identified a combination of reasons for the growth in online sales, with over three-quarters of those polled rating better pricing online than in-store at the top. Ease of product and brand comparison closely followed at 71 percent, and flexibility of shopping outside business hours at 63 percent.
“It’s a mixture of price, convenience and better selection,” says 25-year-old Auckland financial analyst, Dave Sainsbury. “And you don’t have to go searching all around town.”
Sainsbury and his flatmates are also finding New Zealand retailers stocking a better selection online than in-store, due in part to retailers not having to hold inventory for online stock.
The travel sector seemed to benefit most from the Kiwis continuing confidence to shop online, with 47 percent of online shoppers booking travel on the web, including airline tickets. Fashion followed at 38 percent, books and magazines at 32 percent, entertainment tickets at 29 percent and travel services such as accommodation and car hire at 28 percent.
Despite a continuous high level of online sales over the past seven years, those in the travel industry believe there are still benefits to be had from booking with an agent in store.
“It’s no cheaper to buy products online, but if you book with an agency, you get support if something goes wrong,” shared Flight Centre‘s Product General Manager, Dave Coombes. “We’re in the process of developing a blended model, which will enable people to go online or in-store and be interchangeable. So they’ll be able to book on our website and then have a consultant look after them.”
Such initiatives should see online sales continue to grow for the region.