Stores told to get online

By Amelia Wade

The popularity of online shopping is no surprise to the retail industry, but it comes as a warning that traditional stores need to have an internet presence to avoid falling behind. Photo / Getty Images
The popularity of online shopping is no surprise to the retail industry, but it comes as a warning that traditional stores need to have an internet presence to avoid falling behind. Photo / Getty Images

The number of New Zealanders shopping online has tripled in less than a decade, with entertainment and leisure products the favourite internet purchases.

The popularity of online shopping is no surprise to the retail industry, but it comes as a warning that traditional stores need to have an internet presence to avoid falling behind.

A recent report has found nearly 65 per cent of people over 14 bought something online in December with 93.7 per cent of the country accessing the internet.

But in December 2002, only 21.3 per cent had shopped online with 74.6 per cent having accessed the internet.

Roy Morgan Research surveyed almost 12,000 people older than 14 about their online shopping habits for their State of the Nation report.

The most popular online products by far belong to the entertainment and leisure category with 41.8 per cent of internet shoppers buying something in an average four-week period.

This group includes DVDs, music and concert tickets.

Fashion products (24.9 per cent) came in second, followed by electronics (17.2 per cent) with reading material (16.3 per cent) a close fourth.

Pip Elliott, the general manager of Roy Morgan Research NZ, said one in every four Kiwis bought fashion products online in an average four-week period, compared with 22.4 per cent of Australians.

However, Australians bought more entertainment and leisure, electronics and reading material.

Ms Elliott said it was important for New Zealand retailers to be available online.

"The fact that these same four categories top the lists on both sides of the Tasman for internet purchases suggests that traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers in these areas need to provide an online alternative for their customers in order to maintain their competitive edge."

John Albertson, the chief executive of the Retailers Association, said the popularity of online shopping meant stores had to know exactly what their customers wanted.

Mr Albertson said national chains were online which had helped spur internet shopping.

But whether a store was online or not, the most important thing for any retailer's survival was that their customers were satisfied with their service - whether that's quick delivery or a personal experience in a store.

What do you buy online

- NZ Herald

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