Spending on food, groceries boosts total online retail sales

Spending on local online sites has strengthened in May, helping boost the country’s total online retail sales.

Spending on New Zealand sites was up 9 per cent in May compared to the previous corresponding period.

Higher spending on food and groceries has been a key driver of the overall growth in online sales in recent months, an area where domestic retailers have a large market share compared to their offshore rivals.

“Higher spending on food is one reason why online spending at local sites is growing faster than spending at offshore sites,” said Gary Baker, director of Institutional Research at the Bank of New Zealand.

Spending at offshore sites in May only saw a 2 per cent increase compared to the previous corresponding period, continuing the subdued growth trajectory seen for international purchases over the past six months.

Computer and entertainment media categories continue to grow strongly but spending at offshore clothing retailers barely saw an increase. It was just 1 per cent higher than the previous year.

“The NZ dollar was 6 per cent weaker versus the USD compared to May last year, which may be discouraging some purchases,” Baker said.

“It can also lead to increased spending as Kiwis now need to pay more NZD for the same USD-priced goods.”

Total online retail spending in May was 6 per cent higher than a year ago.


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