NZ Post data shows Kiwis spent an extra NZ$1.2bn online in 2020

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NZ Post’s eCommerce Spotlight research into how Covid-19 has affected the way Kiwis shop online shows that New Zealanders spent a total of NZ$5.8bn (US$4.2bn) online in 2020, about NZ$1.2bn (US$867m) more than in 2019.

“This is an incredible result,” observed NZ Post general manager of business marketing, Chris Wong. “Our research throughout 2020 showed that online shopping was continuing to increase. Now that the year has finished, we’ve conducted research that shows Kiwis spent more online last year than ever before, with 2020 online sales up 25% on the year before. The good news for Kiwi businesses is that 71% of all online spend was with domestic retailers.

“2020 was the year online shopping stepped on the accelerator. Early in the year, before Covid-19 started to impact us in New Zealand, spending numbers were up about 12-15% in the first few months. Then Covid-19 hit, and this changed the shopping landscape in a major way, especially during lockdown when physical stores were inaccessible to most.

“Those already online spent more often across more sectors, and those who hadn’t tried online shopping before discovered its ease and convenience – with more than 305,000 New Zealanders shopping online for the first time ever in 2020,” added Wong.

The year ended on a strong note. Kiwis spent NZ$538m (US$389m) online in December, up 17% on the same month in 2019, making it the best December in history for online shopping. Off the back of a strong November, this resulted in a final quarter of 2020 that was 19% up on the same quarter in 2019.

This reflected the number of parcels seen by NZ Post in the lead-up to Christmas. “Our people worked hard in the lead-up to Christmas to get Kiwis’ parcels where they needed to be on time. We delivered 15.3 million parcels across November and December – that’s about six parcels delivered every second. We brought on hundreds of extra people, flights, vans and additional sites to deliver this record-breaking Christmas for Kiwis,” noted Wong.

However, he concluded there was still room for improvement. “While 2020 was a good year for online shopping, it’s important to note that it only makes up 11% of all our shopping,” he said. “Going to the shops is still how most Kiwis choose to shop. For example, in the UK, US and China, over 20% of all spending is online. This suggests that, even after this year’s boom, there is plenty of room for further growth for local online retailers.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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