More Kiwis shopping from overseas sites

Last updated 11:16 01/07/2014

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The amount New Zealanders spent shopping online increased modestly to $3.8 billion last year, researcher Nielsen says.

However, the estimates have been called into question by an another industry expert.

The figure was up only 3.6 per cent on Nielsen's estimate for 2012, though it expects a 9 per cent jump to $4.15b this year.

Research director Tony Boyte said the sharp forecast increase was because Nielsen had seen many people use online shopping for the first time in 2013, and it expected that would become a more regular habit for them this year.

Nielsen estimated 56 per cent of people shopped online and that last year $1.3b, or 34 per cent of their online spending, was directed to overseas websites, up from 26 per cent in 2012.

If its estimates are correct, that would mean spending on New Zealand sites would have fallen by $200m to $2.5b.

Boyte forecast that figure would probably increase slightly this year.

Most of the figures are based on an online survey of 1100 people that Nielsen carried out in February, though the estimate that 56 per cent of people were shopping online was based on face-to-face interviews with 12,000 people, he said.

The items most commonly bought online were airline tickets and apparel, Nielsen said.

Cate Bryant, chief executive of industry body Ecommerce New Zealand, believed the estimates should be treated with caution.

The low growth Nielsen estimated in 2013 did not tally with credit card data released by BNZ, which indicated a double-digit percentage increase in online shopping, she said.

She was "definitely not aware" of any New Zealand e-commerce sites that had seen sales fall last year.

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