Online sales moving on up


online shopping, http, consumer spendingNew Zealanders spent $2.8 billion (excluding GST) online in the year to June 30, 2014, according to Bank of New Zealand latest Online Retail Sales Report.

Online sales are now equivalent to 6.2 per cent of retail sales reported by Statistics NZ.

The gap between the annual growth rates for officially reported retail sales and online retail sales is now four per cent, compared with 15 per cent a year ago.

Online retail sales differ considerably in composition compared with traditional retail sales, with the Grocery and Liquor category accounting for 14 per cent of online sales, but 44 per cent of reported retail sales.

Excluding online grocery and liquor sectors, annual online spending was equivalent to around 9.5 per cent of traditional retail sales.

The main contributors to growth were department, variety and other, recreation, books and entertainment media, and groceries, liquor and specialised food, with a total of 67 per cent growth across these categories.

In the monthly results, July’s total online retail spending was up by seven per cent compared with July 2013.

Purchasing from overseas sites increased by 11 per cent, whereas purchasing from domestic merchants increased by just five percent.

Of interest, online retail sales in NZ continue to track those of Australia. In the three months ending June 2014, the National Australia Bank index was up by seven per cent on the same period in the previous year.

The comparable NZ growth rate was six per cent.

However, Australia and NZ differ in the split of online sales between domestic and international merchants.

In NZ, domestic merchants make up 59 per cent of online retail sales, and in Australia the corresponding figure is nearly 75 per cent.

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