According to research by postal operator NZ Post, online shopping spending in New Zealand increased 31% year-on-year for the period January 1 to March 31, 2022. This rise also represents an 86% increase on the same period in 2020, before Covid-19 restrictions first came into place.
NZ Post’s e-Commerce Spotlight report calculated that New Zealanders spent more than NZ$2.2bn (US$1.4bn) online on physical goods during the first three months of 2022, making it the second-biggest quarter for online shopping total spend in New Zealand, second only to the busy Christmas shopping season at the end of 2021.
According to the research, the top three fastest-growing sectors for online spending compared to the same period in 2021 were: homewares; appliances and electronics (up 38%); health and beauty (up 37%); and clothing and footwear (up 36%). Additionally, spending with drug stores and pharmacies, a subset of the health and beauty sector, grew by 52%. The top three regions in New Zealand with the fastest growth rates were Marlborough (up 36%), Tasman (up 36%) and the West Coast (up 35%), which are among the smallest regions for online spending. The age group with the fastest growth rate in online spending was the 75s and over. Online spending by this group in Q1 2022 grew 40% compared to the same period in 2021. However, their spending represents just 3% of total online spending.
Following this research, NZ Post will open two new parcel processing facilities in 2022, to double its parcel processing capacity. Upgrades to the Christchurch Processing Centre and the opening of the new Wellington Super Depot later in the year are expected to prepare the company for the forecasted further growth in online shopping. The two new facilities are the start of a 10-year plan for investment into parcel processing infrastructure and smarter technology.
Chris Wong, general manager of business marketing at NZ Post, said, “Covid-19 has changed the way New Zealanders shop, for good. Omicron has been a big factor in consumer shopping trends this quarter. More Kiwis have been at home, either unwell or isolating, and this is shown in the huge numbers for online shopping. It is interesting to see, however, that while online shopping for the quarter as a whole was up on the same quarter last year, we did see a decline in shoppers throughout the quarter, as month by month fewer Kiwis shopped online. While in January there were nearly 2.2 million shoppers online, this dropped to 1.98 million in February and then dropped by another 200,000 in March.”
“The slight decline throughout the quarter could be due to a number of factors, including the increasing cost of living facing New Zealanders. The good news is 77% of spending this quarter was with New Zealand-based businesses. Ongoing disruptions to global supply chains mean Kiwis are continuing to favor buying local. This is reassuring for our locally owned businesses during a time of economic uncertainty and NZ Post is here to support local businesses to succeed in the e-commerce space. We’re really proud of how NZ Post has continued to deliver for Kiwis during the Omicron outbreak. We prepared for this latest outbreak by increasing our capacity to deliver by bringing on 10 more people.”