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Kiwis favour offshore online retailers

Wandering in and out of stores around a favourite local shopping precinct, purchasing from New Zealand-based retailers is becoming less and less of a reality as Kiwi consumers look overseas for the latest and greatest. Although, they do this without leaving home.

While this isn’t always the case, it is certainly a strong trend: more New Zealanders are favouring offshore online retailers when it comes to shopping for, well, just about anything.

A national survey of New Zealand consumers by Canstar Blue, which was released this week, found Aucklanders were leading the online charge, with 52 per cent more likely to empty their wallets online rather than at a bricks-and-mortar store.

“The rest of the country is following suit. Sixty per cent of kiwis are spending more on online shopping than they did 12 months ago. The younger generations are the most likely to reach for the mouse with 67% of Gen Ys and Gen Xs admitting to a larger online spend this year,” Canstar New Zealand, General Manager, Derek Bonnar said.

However, that doesn’t mean they are purchasing products from New Zealand companies.

“Despite having access to the world’s largest stores via the internet, a quarter of kiwis are staying staunch in their support of New Zealand businesses, refusing to purchase from overseas online stores … but not all kiwis are quite so patriotic. Despite knowing that buying offshore does nothing to support local businesses, 68% of New Zealanders can’t stop doing it, citing the great bargains and selection as key reasons for offshore spending.”

Forty three per cent of New Zealanders are shopping online solely from kiwi retailers, while 10% say they shop from only overseas vendors.


Respondents were asked to rank their top online retailers based on nine categories.

MightyApe topped the leader board with a 5-star rating for overall consumer satisfaction.”MightyApe appears to have got its model right, with a broad product range, the right pricing, delivery options and the all-important customer service,” Bonnar said.

“They have triumphed in cyberspace, trailed closely by bricks and mortar stores Briscoes and The Warehouse who are supplementing their nationwide network with a strong online presence.”

While there is no recent research specific to New Zealand consumers, the latest statistics from online researcher Sensis found the prime candidates for global online spending are young males. The research found more than one quarter of digital buyers in Australia had made online purchases from offshore retailers. Men were the most likely to do so, and young men were the most keen on filling a global shopping cart.

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But it was some of the youngest buyers who were the most enamoured by world shopping, with those aged between 14 and 17 ranking the highest in the number of global digital purchases made: 45 per cent had bought something from overseas online in the last 12 months.

While that was more than double the number of those aged over 50 who had made online purchases from offshore online retailers, this cohort still reported a trend for global shopping, with one in five saying they had purchased something online from overseas in the last year.

The research found men were more than 20 per cent more likely than women overall to buy something online from another country.

But this isn’t just a phenomenon specific to Australia and New Zealand. In January 2014, a separate report conducted by J.C. Williams Group found that only 55 per cent of online purchases made in Canada went towards purchases from Canadian companies; one-third of the total spend went to the United States, while the remaining share went predominantly to Asia and Europe. This report found the most common reason for purchasing from abroad was lower prices, followed by a larger selection of products, free or discounted shipping, and ease of shopping.