Locked-down Kiwis are making the most of ordering online, tallying a whopping 2 million parcels received in the past week, according to NZ Post.
Deliveries are one of the small pleasures of lockdown and Bryan Dobson, chief customer officer for NZ Post, says New Zealanders have been quick to show appreciation to hardworking delivery people.
"We've had so many messages – from big endorsements on social media to people writing messages of thanks in chalk on the footpaths," he says.
"Our team love it. They have always taken real pride in delivery and even more so during lockdowns. We are hoping this kind of response from Kiwis continues as demand for deliveries and online shopping continues.
As they pace through millions of orders from Kiwis locked down under various levels across the country, NZ Post is putting into effect all the learnings from 2020's lockdown which saw the re-design of the Auckland network (where online shopping is most popular), set up of temporary processing sites and extended processing hours.
In the seven days up to Tuesday this week, NZ Post received over two million parcels, says Dobson, up from 1.4m two weeks ago – an extra 600,000 parcels in two weeks: "We expect to see demand for online shopping stay at this level as long as part of the country remains in Level 3 or above."
The mammoth number of deliveries being made across the country is a testament to the front-line team at NZ Post, he says: "Our people have been working very hard throughout Level 3 and 4, continuing to provide an essential service to connect and support Kiwis during lockdown. We are putting on hundreds of additional processing staff, more vans, we are working seven days a week and some of our teams will be working round the clock.
"We just ask everyone to please be patient and understanding as we do our best to deliver your items to you as soon as possible during the various alert levels."
There will be some delays in parcel delivery, not just because of the increased demand but also because there may be some upstream delays as, for example, retailers that closed down in Level 4 work to process their orders.
"A large portion of our parcels are still being delivered on time," says Dobson, "but we are currently seeing delays of around 1-3 days on some parcels.
"We will be updating our website regularly and encourage customers to check there for updates on delivery times and to track their parcels – it's the best place to do so."
While lockdown's heightened demand was difficult to predict, NZ Post has been able to respond quickly due to e-commerce research conducted earlier this year – highlighting that online shopping in New Zealand increased about 25 per cent last year. Kiwis spent more than $5.8 billion with online shopping spiking at a 105 per cent increase during Covid-19 alert Level 3 last year.
Even without lockdowns, the report showed more New Zealanders becoming comfortable shopping online –buying groceries, appliances, clothing and even DIY materials. Now 52 per cent of the adult population is shopping online, with a 12 per cent increase in people over 60 embracing the digital path to purchase.
As online shopping shows no signs of stopping, lockdown or not, NZ Post's couriers and posties are hoping the "fantastic" reaction to their delivery of parcels to locked-down Kiwis continues as the country moves down in alert levels.
"We are asking for kindness and patience," says Dobson. "Your item will get to you, it may just take a few more days than it would in normal times."