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Online shopping up 31% this quarter - NZ Post report

By Jessie Chiang
Tue 31 May 2022

The latest NZ Post eCommerce Spotlight report has revealed that spending on online shopping for the first quarter of this year is up 31% on the previous year and up a massive 86% on the same quarter in 2020, before COVID-19 restrictions first came into effect.

NZ Post general manager of business marketing, Chris Wong, says COVID-19 has changed the way New Zealanders shop, for good.

“New Zealanders spent more than $2.2 billion online on physical goods during the first quarter of 2022, making nearly 17 million online transactions, and spending about $131 per transaction,” he says.

“This is the second biggest quarter for online shopping for total spend in New Zealand, second only to the busy Christmas shopping season at the end of last year.”

Wong says Omicron has been a significant factor in consumer shopping trends this quarter. More Kiwis have been at home, either unwell or isolating, and he says this is shown in the huge numbers for online shopping. 

However, Wong notes that while online shopping for the quarter, as a whole, was up on the same quarter last year, there has been a decline in shoppers throughout the quarter, as month by month fewer Kiwis shopped online. 

“While in January there were nearly 2.2 million shoppers online, this dropped to 1.98 million in February and then dropped by another 200,000 in March,” he says.

“The slight decline throughout the quarter could be due to a number of factors, including the increasing cost of living facing New Zealanders. The good news is 77% of spending this quarter was with New Zealand based businesses.”

Wong says ongoing disruptions to global supply chains mean Kiwis continue to favour buying local. 

“This is reassuring for our locally owned businesses during a time of economic uncertainty and NZ Post is here to support local businesses to succeed in the eCommerce space,” he says.

This year, NZ Post is set to open two new parcel processing facilities to double its parcel processing capacity. The two new facilities are just the start of a 10-year plan for investment into parcel processing infrastructure and smarter technology.

NZ Post says its upgrades to the Christchurch Processing Centre and the opening of the brand new Wellington Super Depot later this year mean NZ Post is primed for continued growth in online shopping. 

Key eCommerce Spotlight stats for Q1 2022:

  • The top three fastest-growing sectors for online spending compared with Q1 2021 were homewares, appliances and electronics (up 38%), health and beauty (up 37%), and clothing and footwear (up 36%).
  • Spending with drug stores and pharmacies, a subset of the health and beauty sector, grew 52%.
  • The top three regions with the fastest growth rates were Marlborough (up 36%), Tasman (up 36%) and the West Coast (up 35%), which are amongst the smallest regions for online spending.
  • The age group with the fastest growth rate in online spending was the 75+ group. Online spending by this group in Q1 2022 grew 40% compared with Q1 2021. However, their spending represents just 3 per cent of total online spending.
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