Business experts say shopping for groceries and everyday items online has become the "new norm" with new research revealing Bay of Plenty residents spent more than $92 million during three months, Covid-19 lockdown.
NZ Post's new e-Commerce Spotlight report, which researched how the Covid-19 response has impacted the way Kiwis shopped online, showed online shopping in the Bay jumped 49 per cent during April, May and June 2020 compared to last year.
That was higher than the national average of 46 per cent.
The research, conducted with Datamine, showed Bay shoppers spent $92.5m during lockdown and had an average basket size of $106 per transaction.
NZ Post general manager of business marketing Chris Wong said early indications signalled Covid-19 had forever changed the way Kiwis shopped.
"Buying your groceries and other everyday items online and having them delivered has become the new norm for many," he said.
"This change in shopping behaviour is reflected in our findings."
The Bay's fastest-growing online shopping categories were homewares, appliances and electronics, which grew a massive 77 per cent - and speciality food, groceries and liquor jumped 75 per cent in the three month lockdown period.
Bay spending on DIY materials and supplies increased a whopping 500 per cent in April alone before dropping off in June.
"This speaks to the lifestyle change we all experienced, where suddenly we had more time to spend at home working on those outstanding DIY tasks," Wong said.
Nationally, Wong said NZ Post received more than 3.5m parcels in the first two weeks of level 3 as Kiwis spent more than $200m - about 200 parcels per minute.
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According to data received from Marketview in Priority One's latest Infometrics Quarterly Economic Report, electronic card spending in the region dropped 2 per cent over the year to June 2020, and by 19 per cent over the quarter when compared to June 2019.
Spending did, however, recover from a monthly low of $77m in April 2020, to more than $179m in June.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said many people made their first ever online purchase during lockdown out of necessity.
Cowley said more people were now open to buying online but shopping in stores will still be where the bulk of purchases were made.
"I believe Covid-19 was a key trigger that has now made it critical for most businesses to have a strong online presence from now on."
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said the increase in online spend was to be expected.
"We have seen businesses in the region adapt quickly to digital methods of doing business, and we would expect this to accelerate in future."
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said it was a natural response.
Heard said the spending increase on DIY materials was no doubt because of people stocking up to keep themselves busy with home improvements during lockdown.
"Covid is changing the way we have traditionally behave and shopping is part of that bigger picture... A new norm will emerge from it, but it is going to take some time."
Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said the lockdown from March to May led to a massive increase in online shopping in the Bay and right throughout the country.
"Early signs are that while this has reduced somewhat from its peak, we have locked in online shopping as a bigger part of the Kiwi shopping experience.
"Customers find online shopping convenient. They like being able to shop 24/7 from anywhere, and the contactless nature of online shopping is increasingly important as the Covid-19 crisis continues."
Harford said it was a good idea for retailers to set up an online presence if they don't already have one.
"This not only allows them to continue trading if the Bay is forced back to a level 3 lockdown as has happened in Auckland but also allows local businesses to offer their products and services to a broader market.
"It is important though to have really good logistics sitting in behind this, and a strong relationship with a courier firm to make sure you can fulfil those orders."