Northlanders love to shop, with the region's rise in buying goods online three times higher than the rest of the country.

A new report commissioned by NZ Post shows the number of times Kiwis shop online for goods is growing the fastest in Northland at 36 per cent in 2017.

"Northland shoppers had a shopping basket of $95.80 on average per transaction, and completed 1.2 million transactions, totalling $120 million in 2017," said an NZ Post Spokesperson.

David Wilson, chief executive of Northland Inc, said Northlanders are shopping online more now because Northland is more connected, with half of Whangarei hooked up to the UFB network.

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Northland Inc CEO David Wilson said greater internet connectivity is partly behind an increase in online shopping spend in the region.
Northland Inc CEO David Wilson said greater internet connectivity is partly behind an increase in online shopping spend in the region.

NZ Post said online shopping is increasing so dramatically in Northland and across the whole country, because more people are online and enjoy the convenience of being able to shop online and have goods delivered to their homes.

"We think that online shoppers are enjoying having online access to a greater range of goods, including goods from overseas which they normally wouldn't have," the NZ Post spokesman said.

More than 11,500 people are connected out of a possible 22,700 premises to the UFB network in Whangarei.

"This is outstanding for the city in terms of advancement for the region both economically and socially," Northpower Fibre chief executive Darren Mason said.

The company is quickly expanding throughout the Whangarei and Kaipara Districts. The connections to the Whangarei UFB network are 11 per cent businesses and 89 per cent residential premises. UFB networks at Hikurangi and Waipu are now completed and One Tree Point residents also have access.

Ruakaka and Dargaville residents will be able to hook up over the next three months. Beyond that, Waikaraka, Mangawhai, Kaiwaka, Maungaturoto, Paparoa and Ruawai will be part of the expansion over the next few years.

The team remains firmly focused on connecting as many of the remaining premises as possible.

"By 2022, the network will reach around 33,000 homes and premises in Northland," said Mason.

The report shows that "Kiwis spent $3.6b NZD online in 2017 and that made up 8.1 per cent of total NZ retail spend. The average online shopper spends over $2350 online each year, with rural online shoppers now the largest spenders, each spending over $2500 online in 2017."

NZ Post chief marketing officer Bryan Dobson said the report shows that in New Zealand online shopping is growing at a rate of 13 per cent, and is fuelled by a 23 per cent increase in spend with overseas companies.

"Overall one in every three dollars spent by New Zealanders on online goods goes offshore. People are shopping more often, and more often with overseas companies, for smaller amounts. This shows that Kiwis feel comfortable buying smaller value items more regularly online, and are really embracing shopping online for more everyday items," Dobson said.

Northland Inc's Wilson said if local businesses want to compete with online shopping they need to "get in the game, on both sides" by having an online and physical presence. Wilson said customers still want to "feel, touch and see" the product.

"It's all about trust" said Wilson, as customers are more likely to buy the product for a second time online, once they have already established trust in the product.

Wilson said that online shopping has led to consumers not only buying smaller items but much bigger items, including cars and houses.

The report says e-commerce is growing as it is twice the size that it was five years ago. It predicts by 2021, 17.5 per cent of all global retail spend will come from e-commerce.

Northlanders spent the most in the department and variety category, spending a total of $44m.

These categories include stores such as Kmart, The Warehouse and Farmers. The report outlines differences between how Kiwi men and women are shopping online.

The report shows "New Zealand women shop online more frequently than men, with an average of 23 online transactions per year, but men are spending more each time they shop online, almost $40 more per transaction".

"It may surprise people that men are spending about twice as much as women per transaction in the Health and Beauty category," Dobson said.

In 2017, 70 million parcels were delivered by NZ Post to New Zealand addresses or to international destinations.