Domestic online sales taper off

Last updated 12:35 31/03/2014

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New Zealand consumers made fewer online purchases at local websites last month but spent more at overseas stores, a monthly survey shows.

The Bank of New Zealand online retail sales index showed that online purchases at domestic sites fell 3 per cent in February compared to January. This goes against the usual seasonal pattern of a 5 per cent to 6 per cent increase in domestic online spending in February that has been recorded over the last four years, BNZ said.

However, the monthly figures could be volatile and the softness in February could due to the strong sales growth in January and December, the bank said.

On an annual basis, online purchases at domestic sites were 6 per cent higher in February than they were a year ago. While this was an acceptable growth rate, it is much softer than the 15 per cent annual growth rate in January, BNZ said.

Meanwhile online spending by New Zealanders at overseas retailers continued to power ahead, being 21 per cent higher in February than a year ago and accounting for 42 per cent of all New Zealand online retail purchases.

Comparing the split between domestic and overseas stores by categories, overseas stores were most dominant in book sales with about a 75 per cent market share. Domestic stores dominate about 90 per cent in furniture and the "other specialised food" category, including health supplements.

Online sales of clothing and footwear were split 50:50 between domestic and overseas stores, but foreign stores were gaining market share. Four years ago overseas stores accounted for just a third of sales in the category, BNZ said.

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- Fairfax Media


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