Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Retailers urged to ride online sales wave

Online sales are growing three times faster than traditional sales. Photo / Thinkstock
Online sales are growing three times faster than traditional sales. Photo / Thinkstock

Local retailers are being urged to grow their web platforms after strong growth in online retail spending.

Online sales are growing three times faster than traditional sales and online spending in January grew 17 per cent on January last year, according to the latest BNZ Online Retail Sales Index released yesterday.

Purchases made online made up 6.2 per cent of all retail sales, or 9.7 per cent if groceries and liquor were excluded, the index showed.

"As shoppers become increasingly comfortable with purchasing goods and services online, we're encouraging NZ retailers to continue to develop and grow their e-commerce platforms so that customers can access their inventory online 24/7 and purchase them when it suits them any time of the day and night," said Retailers Association chief executive Mark Johnston.

Online sales for the three months December grew 3.7 times faster than traditional sales, and were up by 13 per cent on the same quarter a year earlier.

Mr Johnston said the high New Zealand dollar also provided "opportunities for consumers" to get a better deal online from offshore merchants.

Gary Baker, BNZ director of institutional research, said: "The renewed strength partly reflects a bounce back in the growth in online purchases from domestic retailers, following a slow patch over the September-November period."

The index monitored online sales in the categories of fashion and accessories, daily sales, department, furniture/housewares and hardware, electrical and electronics, recreation, books and entertainment media, groceries and liquor, pharmacy, stationery, antiques and flowers. These were estimated to total $2.8 billion, excluding GST.

"Consequently, the online market share of overseas merchants has increased 42 per cent in the month of January, the highest level we have observed so far," Mr Baker said.

Entertainment media grew the fastest, at 25 per cent, followed by furniture/housewares at 22 per cent and groceries and liquor at 18 per cent. But online sales at "daily sales" or "one-day sales" websites declined, following exceptional 2010 and 2011 growth.

Read also: Shopping just a mouse-click away

- NZ Herald

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