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Online Retail Sales

December 2018 online retail sales

31 January 2019

Highlights

  • New Zealand’s total online retail spending in December was 6% higher than in the prior December.
    • This is a slower growth rate than we’ve seen in recent months, mainly due to a softening in purchases from offshore sites.
  • Online spending at international sites was 1% lower than a year earlier.
    • The growth rate for international sites has been slowing down in recent years, but this is the first time we have seen a negative year-on-year growth rate.
    • The NZD exchange rate was only slightly different from a year earlier (e.g. down 2% vs USD and up 2% vs EUR), so prima facie the drop-off in growth does not seem exchange rate driven.
    • Over time we would expect percentage growth rates to come down from the high levels we saw a few years ago, as purchasing patterns mature and the spending base grows. But nonetheless, November and December look particularly sluggish for Kiwis’ online shopping at overseas sites. Spending at offshore Clothing retailers, for example, was down 9% on a year earlier.
  • In contrast, local online sites saw spending up 10% compared to the prior December.
    • The growth rate at local online stores also outpaced that at traditional stores, where spending was only up 1.3% year-on-year.
    • The Food and Grocery categories continue to grow strongly, which is more to the advantage of local sites than offshore ones. 

Read the full BNZ Online Retail Sales Index report PDF 695 KB

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Previous online retail sales reports