Twenty study shows Kiwi business websites are late to the mobile-optimised party

Despite the fact that more Kiwis are buying online—and buying with their mobile devices—many Kiwi businesses aren’t taking that into account when it comes to their websites. And that’s costing them dearly, says a report from direct marketing and digital agency Twenty.

It says bad user experience cost Kiwi businesses over $1 billion in sales to overseas websites last year, a big chunk of the total $2.3 billion spent online by Kiwis for the year in total. And the damage might be worse this year, with the increase in online spending since this time last year twice as high for offshore than for local (17 percent more spent offshore, eight percent more spent locally).

52 percent of websites overseas are mobile-ready or responsive-designed, says the report, but just 28 percent of the websites of New Zealand organisations have been optimised.

Some sectors are better than others, with cosmetics and toiletries leading the way in both mobile-ready websites and responsive design.

In retail, just 18 percent of sites are optimised. Frank Gilbert, director of website optimisation company Solutionists, suggests it’s because most retailers were already well-entrenched on the internet and they’ve not optimised yet because “it makes sense to convert to responsive at the same time as a site redesign”. 

Gilbert says a reason New Zealand is so far behind the eight-ball with websites compared to overseas could be that even though in New Zealand the cost of converting a site to be responsive is the same as it is overseas, the sales level for New Zealand sites can be much lower than for sites that sell all over the globe. “So it’s hard to get the same ROI; more difficult to justify the cost,” he says. 

But this lag is worrying. 63 percent of Kiwi smartphone users are on their their phones every day surfing the internet. 45 percent of Kiwis have purchased products using their smartphone, and 17 percent in the last seven days. Tablets are a bigger force to be reckoned with: users are three times more likely to buy than smartphone users, and spend 50 percent more per purchase, and tablet ownership is on the rise.

It’s not just websites that New Zealand is behind on either, it’s also the emails. Only 10-12 percent of emails sent to customers are mobile friendly, this is in a market where 63 percent of consumers say they will delete emails immediately if they are not mobile friendly.

In short, the report says to compete against overseas websites, it’s hard to beat price, convenience and choice, but ease and usability big drivers of conversion. So a little improvement with user experience on Kiwi websites wouldn’t go amiss.

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