Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

Online hits 10pc of all retail sales

Twelve of the 15 retail industries had higher sales volumes in the latest quarter compared with the September quarter. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Twelve of the 15 retail industries had higher sales volumes in the latest quarter compared with the September quarter. Photo / Steven McNicholl

January online retail sales:
• Up 15pc on January last year
• Domestic sales up 11pc on January last year
• Online sales excluding groceries now 10pc of retail sales
• International sales up 21pc on January last year

Online shopping is showing no signs of slowing, with the latest BNZ monthly update showing total online retail spending up 15 per cent compared to the same month last year, with local sales up 11 per cent.

BNZ director of institutional research Gary Baker said growth in online sales hit a peak a few years ago when it was taking off, but there was still a way to go before online spend leveled out.

"[Online sales] are now at 10 per cent of retail sales if you take groceries out," Baker said. "Groceries are a big part of the retail shopping basket, so groceries and fuel aside, all those other goods like books and toys and games and clothes, 10 per cent of people are now shopping for them online."

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Despite strong double-digit growth in local sales, international online sales continued to dominate, up 21 per cent in January compared with the same month a year earlier, although Baker said this was partly due to a drop in the New Zealand dollar.

"It's hard to be too specific [on what is driving the growth] - it's partly just the ongoing trends towards online but also the fact that the Kiwi dollar has dropped 15 per cent against the US dollar," Baker said.

"It just means that it will cost a bit more for that Amazon book or clothing from ASOS, so people can respond to that by buying less goods but they don't seem to be, they just seem to be paying more for them."

Growth in online sales was boosted by the computer and entertainment media category which continued the strong sales it had in December, as well as clothing with sales up 20 per cent on January last year.

Baker said goods available overseas that were harder to source locally including clothing brands, were likely to be a factor in the international spend growth.

The government is currently looking into lowering the threshold for GST tax on goods which would have an effect on international sales, although how much is unclear.

- NZ Herald

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