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Fourth quarter online spending up 45% year-on-year, with Kiwis splurging to the tune of $2.5 billion, NZ Post says

Personal Finance / news
Fourth quarter online spending up 45% year-on-year, with Kiwis splurging to the tune of $2.5 billion, NZ Post says
Shopping trolley with masks
Image: wuestenigel. Licence: CC BY 2.0.

New Zealanders spent $2.5 billion online during the final three months of 2021, according to NZ Post monitoring.

It's the largest quarterly online spend since monitoring by the NZ Post eCommerce spotlight began four years ago.

A third of the year's online spending was crammed into the final quarter, which was 45%, or $772 million, higher than in the final quarter of 2020. Versus the final quarter of 2019 it was an increase of 71%, or more than $1 billion.

Source: NZ Post eCommerce spotlight

While online sales boomed, spending in physical stores dropped by 4% year-on-year due to the touch-and-go Covid-19 retail environment.

Auckland stores were only able to open from December 1, the final month of the quarter. 

"Even then it was with restrictions, and with a level of shopper nervousness, that impacted instore numbers and the shopping experience," said NZ Post. 

Bricks and mortar stores are still our shopping preference overall, with the online spend only comprising 14% of the total. However this share has been climbing in recent years, up from 10% in 2020 and 9% in 2019.

The 'shop local' message hit home during the quarter, perhaps out of necessity due to international shipping uncertainty, with 74% of the online spend going to domestic businesses.

There were 22.5 million transactions during the quarter, a significant growth area.

"That averages out to nearly 245,000 online transactions per day, a level that outstrips any previous transaction levels we’ve seen. Compared to the same quarter last year, we had 7.2 million more transactions in the quarter, a massive increase of 47%," said NZ Post.

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) a popular form of credit not currently regulated, continued to ride high with an increased spend of 53% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, and more than double the final quarter of 2019.

Kiwis also latched on to the season of sales during November and December, which have become highly anticipated in recent years.

"In recent years, we’ve seen November’s sales events become more than a one-day thing with promotions starting progressively earlier and lasting longer," said NZ Post.

These sales include Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles Day. NZ Post noted many businesses continuing deals throughout the month.

"As a result, we saw the big sales highs on days other than the designated event days."

All the action earlier in the month did not dampen the enthusiasm for boxing day sales, with total, online and offline, spend of $195 million on the day.

Like the events earlier in the month, many retailers continued the sale for around a week, ending the year on a high note.

You can read the full report here.

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Christmas season buys, no surprise there.