Data dump: Christmas spending habits reveal the growing prominence of online shopping

Around 91 percent of New Zealanders aged 18 and older purchased Christmas gifts last year, according to a survey of more than 500 New Zealanders by independent agency Energi.

Shoppers buy ten presents on average, parting with around $590 during the silly season. 

This willingness to open their wallets during Christmas led to a spend of $6.5 billion during the month of December, a lift of nearly 5.8 percent from the previous year.

Shoppers weren’t the only ones liberally throwing around dollars, with advertisers spending a hefty total of $281 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 (up 14 percent year on year).  

Energi strategic planner Lew Bentley describes it as the “biggest shopping event in New Zealand’s history” and says the spending trends provide some important guidelines for marketers as they set their strategies for the Christmas splurge this year.

One important trend to keep an eye on is the extent of online shopping New Zealanders are now doing, with 69 percent of respondents saying they shopped online for Christmas presents in 2016. Some respondents even went a step further, with 20 percent saying they did most or all of their shopping online.

Online malls and large retail stores were more popular among New Zealanders, with 75 percent shopping at the former and 78 percent at the latter.   

However, with New Zealanders becoming more and more comfortable with online shopping, local retailers face a growing challenge in that they are increasingly competing with big international players offering extensive options at affordable prices.  

If anything, it serves as a reminder to marketers—particularly those reliant on the big Christmas spend—that they will have to ensure the customer experience on their websites provide an easy path to purchase.

Viewing these trends, it comes as no surprise that the retail industry, in particular, has become so focused on customer experience over the last year. And the agency partners are going along for the ride, with several in this market repositioning their offerings as customer experience agencies.

As the countdown to Christmas 2017 continues, it will be interesting to see if this growing emphasis on customer experience has any impact on the way marketers look to differentiate their brands during the cluttered festive rush. 


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