The number of New Zealanders shopping online has reached an all-time high, with over 1.4 million making a purchase on the internet in the past 12 months, an incremental increase of 2.4 percent on the previous year according to research conducted by Nielsen.
Nielsen's 2010 Online Retail Report shows that 45 percent of New Zealanders are now shopping online. The overall increase in the number of online shoppers, while having stabilised somewhat over the last year, still shows very strong growth compared to 39 percent of the population at the end of 2007, and is close to double what it was five years ago (see graph).
“We’ve again seen growth in the number of people taking up online shopping in New Zealand in the past year,” observes Tony Boyte, research director for Nielsen’s online division. “But what’s even more significant is that New Zealanders have strongly increased their number of online purchases within the year and are considering purchasing via the Internet across more categories in the future, which is a sign that growth in online shopping is really set to continue.”
The biggest growth in online shopper numbers has been amongst those with high purchasing activities: 35 percent of New Zealanders who shop online made six or more purchases on the internet in the past 12 months, an increase of 12.7 percent on the past year.
The most popular items purchased online in that time were airline tickets, books/magazines and entertainment tickets. However, in the top ten categories, entertainment tickets has seen the fastest growth in online sales this past year. Clothing and health and beauty items also enjoyed strong growth.
The Nielsen report also highlights that a much more significant number of New Zealanders say that they would consider purchasing online in each category in the future than are currently doing so. This includes such categories as grocery shopping, home appliances, furniture, consumer electronics, collectibles and toys.
New Zealanders’ perceptions of online shopping have improved significantly in the past few years, and 61 percent of New Zealand internet users say they find it easier to compare products and prices over online. Close to half of New Zealanders surveyed find online shopping to be more convenient. And the Nielsen report also identified that a high number of New Zealanders prefer to purchase from New Zealand online retailers as opposed to international sites if the products or services are available locally.
“Perceptions of online shopping have come a long way in recent years and online retailers will no doubt be encouraged to learn that New Zealanders see the internet as an excellent medium for comparing products and pricing,” says Boyte. “What’s important now is that New Zealand’s retailers look to fill the gap around product availability online and further encourage New Zealanders to stay local.”