Online sales boost

Shopping cart, e-commerce, onlineTotal online retail spending in New Zealand put on a positive performance in March, with BNZ’s monthly Online Retail Sales Report showing 11 per cent growth year on year.

Online purchases at domestic merchants in March were up seven per cent on the spending levels a year earlier, slightly ahead of the growth in spending at physical stores by around five per cent), based on electronic card transactions.

Spending at international sites was also strong for the month, up 18 per cent on March 2014.

Electrical goods and groceries, including specialised food such as supplements were good performers, with monthly online spending in these categories rising 17 per cent and 23 per cent respectively on March last year. Together they are responsible for around half of the increase in total online spending by Kiwis over the past 12 months.

In earlier BNZ reports, spending by country was particularly significant in the US and UK, accounting for 30 per cent and 18 per cent respectively of Kiwis’ online spending at offshore merchants. The influence of the US dollar extends beyond goods purchased in the US, as sometimes goods from other countries are priced in US dollars.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 3.22.04 pmThe kiwi has weakened against both the US and UK currencies over the past year, making it more expensive in NZ dollar terms to purchase goods from those countries.

Compared to March last year the kiwi is down 12 per cent against the US dollar and four per cent against the British pound. There is a partial offset from strengthening in the kiwi against other currencies. Notably, the kiwi is up three per cent against the Aussie dollar since March 2014.

Australia accounts for 15  per cent of NZ online spending at offshore merchants.

Online spending at offshore sites is still growing rapidly regardless of the weakening in the kiwi versus the greenback. Sixty per cent of that increase was driven by clothing, computers and peripherals, electrical and electronic goods, other specialised foods, and entertainment media.

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