The report, which shows online retail sales in New Zealand, revealed the growth rate at local online stores also outpaced that of traditional ones, where spending was only up 1.3 per cent year-on-year.
The food and grocery categories continue to grow strongly, which is more to the advantage of local sites than offshore ones, BNZ’s report shows.
Total online retail sales in December was 6 per cent higher than the previous corresponding period but shows a slower growth rate compared to online sales seen in recent months.
According to the report, the sluggish growth was due to a softening in purchases from offshore sites.
Online spending on international sites was 1 per cent lower than a year earlier.
“The growth rate for international sites has been slowing down in recent years, but this is the first time we have seen a negative year-on-year growth rate,” said Gary Baker, director, institutional research, Bank of New Zealand.
The report showed the NZ dollar exchange rate was only slightly different from a year earlier (e.g. down 2 per cent against the US dollar and up 2 per cent against the Euro).
“So prima facie the drop-off in growth does not seem exchange rate driven,” Baker said. “Over time we would expect percentage growth rates to come down from the high levels we saw a few years ago, as purchasing patterns mature and the spending base grows.”
Baker said nonetheless, November and December look particularly sluggish for Kiwis’ online shopping at overseas sites.
“Spending at offshore clothing retailers, for example, was down 9 per cent on a year earlier,” he said.