According to Nielsen's Online Retail Report, the number of online shoppers in New Zealand has now reached over 1.6 million (49 percent of the total population aged 18+), an increase of 122,000 on the previous year and more than double since 2004.
Nielsen has also found those shopping online are now rapidly increasing the frequency of their purchases. The number of customers who purchased six or more items in the past year increased by 21 percent compared to 2010 and those buying 11 or more items grew by 38 percent.
The most popular products and services are airline tickets with 50 percent of online shoppers purchasing in this category, followed by clothing/shoes/accessories (32 percent), books/magazines (29 percent), entertainment tickets (27 percent) and travel related services such as accommodation and car hire (24 percent).
The Nielsen Online Retail Report identifies a combination of factors for the increasing popularity of online retail:
- Convenience of comparing products and prices.
- Promotional emails from daily deal sites.
- Development in technology, specifically broadband and usage of the internet via mobile phones.
- Increased trust in the security of online transactions.
- Increased opportunity to purchase products outside of the consumer’s locality.
"There appears to be potential for even more growth with consumers indicating a willingness to purchase online across a much wider range of categories," says Tony Boyte, associate director of research, media, New Zealand. "The amount of people researching products and services on the internet is now ubiquitous. This presents an opportunity for online retailers to convert these browsers into buyers."
While fashion was thought to be a no-go area in the online space, big retailers are being forced to adapt and "self-confessed online laggard" David Jones in Australia is currently embarking on the huge task of transforming itself into an omni-channel retailer. So it will be interesting to see whether traditional brands going digital are able to compete with purely digital offerings like Net-A-Porter.