It looks as if the daily deal sites that seem to be seeping out from all over the place have made quite the impact on our online shopping habits, according to the latest Nielsen Online Retail Report. By the end of 2010, the number of New Zealanders aged 18+ making transactions online reached an all time high of nearly 1.5 million. This was an increase of over seven percent on 2009. According to the report, 46 percent of the adult population has made a purchase online, nearly double the number of six years ago.
Daily deal sites, the introduction of debit cards, evolving technology and social media are all contributing to this online shopping momentum, with two thirds of online New Zealanders saying they receive e-mail alerts from daily deal websites with a further 40 percent saying they have made a purchase from such a site in the past three months.
Those of us who are already hip to online shopping are apparently also buying more via the medium, four times more in fact. That's an increase of 25 percent in the last year compared to 2009. It's something Tony Boyte, research director for Nielsen’s online division, puts down to the comfort factor.
“As consumers become more comfortable with the transaction process and outcomes, they then begin to shop online more frequently,” says Boyte.
Although credit cards are still the most popular online payment option at 50 percent, the introduction of debit cards that can be used for web purchases is also encouraging online sales, growing to 19 percent from 11 percent last year for most preferred.
The Nielsen Online Retail Report also shows that the consumers' ability to shop online is being aided by those who have access to technology such as broadband and mobile devices like smart phones (although this latter technology is still really at the early adopter stage with regards to items being purchased via a mobile phone that are not for use on the device itself).
And what of social media? According to the report, consumers appear to be not only researching more and more product areas on the internet but are then also spreading the word online by discussing their research with other consumers via online message boards, blogs and social networks, which in turn impacts retailer sales both on and offline.
And of the total online spend, the report shows the value of purchases made from international websites has risen from 17 to 21 percent as a proportion of all New Zealand online spend in the past year.
“The ability to purchase items not available locally seems to be a very significant driver to buy overseas, highlighting the opportunities that could be available to New Zealand retailers if they can tap into this market,” notes Boyte. “A number of consumers also claim that goods are cheaper to buy on international websites, indicating that the rise in purchasing from such sites could potentially be because of GST increases in New Zealand in October, as smaller purchasers (under $400) from overseas do not incur taxation for bringing them into the country.”