Not only is the number of people shopping online continuing to grow, the products people buy are changing. A Roy Morgan Research study done last year showed that just under half of New Zealanders over the age of 14 bought something online – 49.3 percent had bought at least one product over the Internet in the previous four weeks.
That is 1.8 million New Zealanders and on a steady rise. Travel products took out the top spot, with 9 percent buying tickets direct from airline websites and accommodation from third party sites.
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said online was the single largest sales channel for Air New Zealand and continues to grow year-on-year.
“The most significant trend over the last couple of years has been the growth of the mobile channel, with commerce no longer strictly the realm of the desktop.
“More than half of the visits to our sites are coming from mobile devices with customers able to book anywhere at any time.”
Unsurprisingly, women’s clothing also ranked high, at 7.9 percent, more than half of the menswear equivalent (4 percent). Tickets to shows, movies or events and fast food were the next highest products. Other popular online purchases included books (5 percent) ebooks (4.1 percent) and music downloads (4.7 percent).
The Warehouse has the most visited retailer site in New Zealand. The Warehouse chief digital officer Craig Jordon said the online shopping trend is only going up.
“There’s been an increase in the numbers visiting our online store from their mobile devices,” he said.
“We’re regularly seeing more than 60 percent of our traffic via mobile.”
An increased number of customers are also choosing the click-and-collect service, about 25 percent choosing to avoid delays in postage. With The Warehouse offering a comprehensive in-store experience as well as online one, the key is letting the customers choose how they want to shop. There is little difference between the types of products bought in-store or online however one major area is expensive items.
“There has been an increase in more expensive items being purchased online, indicating greater customer comfort with online shopping,” Jordon said.
MightyApe chief marketing manager Gracie MacKinlay said the upward trends of online shopping were not stopping.
“Overall numbers are growing online. We have good growth year on year and the trend is not slowing down,” MacKinlay said.
The biggest area of growth on the website is in the electronics and office categories. Niche categories of hobbies and collectables follow closely behind in terms of percentage growth.
Both categories are not for the mass market and have strong brand identities and customer loyalty. In terms of customers and sales growth, the websites toys, games and computers have the biggest increase annually.
“With digital downloads, people may expect downturn in categories like books and DVDs, but out books have a steady grown and DVDs have only dropped slightly.”
Often social media can drive a noticeable trend in online sales.
After the now famous Chewbacca video on Facebook went viral, MightyApe sold out of its Chewbacca mask stock. Hundreds of units were sold in a couple of days. Not even the release of the latest Star Wars film in May, when the product was featured on the site’s daily deals, caused such a spike in sales.
“Our steady growth across the majority of our categories indicates the increasing popularity of online shopping in New Zealand,” MacKinlay said.
“Online shopping doesn’t only appeal to people who want the cheapest prices, more and more people want the products quickly without stepping out the door.”
Not only do online customers expect quality products for competitive prices, an emphasis is also made on fast delivery and good customer support. While fast food, such as pizza, is a top product being bought online by New Zealanders, only 2.1 percent are doing their supermarket shopping online.
Buying liquor online, however, is a market that looks to be growing. Online alcohol retailers are slipping into the market now, ready to grow their demand. Online wine site Vinomofo is set to launch nationwide on June 16 with a 48-hour online pop-up event.
More than 60 wines from New Zealand, Australia and Europe will be available to buy. Co-founder and chief executive Justin Dry said Vinomofo taps into a growing trend.
“More and more people are buying their alcohol online, particularly wine,” he said.
“It’s the fastest growth channel in the wine space, it’s easy and it’s delightful to have a box of wine arrive on your doorstep.”
The online wine space is growing rapidly, and while numbers quoted vary, Dry believes it’s growing by between 15-30 percent year-on-year. But, as is the way with the wine industry, online wine shopping isn’t just becoming more frequent; it’s becoming more refined. There’s a growing trend toward a more focused, curated online shopping experience.
Rather than customers having to choose from a range of thousands, people want to trust certain retailers to curate an offer based on personal taste. Reaching people online was only going to become more important to businesses in the future, Dry said.
“You want to go where the people are, and people are moving online.
“It’s a rich content medium, and the opportunity to market your products is invaluable.”