Kiwis spending more online
New Zealanders will spend an average of $1659 each on online shopping this year, with clothes and shoe sales growing the fastest.
Greater variety, better value for money and the rise of the smartphone were given as reasons for online shopping among the 1.9 million Kiwis who took part, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan and consultancy PwC.
Online shopping is tipped to rise to $3.19 billion in total this year, or 5.9 per cent of overall retail sales, according to the report. Last year, 5.1 per cent of retail spending was done online.
The figures exclude all online purchases of travel products such as airline tickets, accommodation, financial services, event ticketing and online auctions.
The report predicts online spending would rise to $5.37b by 2016, an average annual growth rate of 14.3 per cent.
Some 81 per cent of online shoppers said they expect to increase or at least maintain their online spend over the next 12 months.
By far the main reason consumers shop through international sites is to obtain lower prices than available locally, the report said, followed by access to a greater variety of goods.
Part of that lower price is because goods purchased overseas for less than $400 are not subject to the 15 per cent GST and other duties local online retailers have to charge.
But the report said in the long term, the growth in shopping on offshore websites should drop as domestic retailers strengthen their offer and there are substantial moves in the high New Zealand currency.
Buying online remained a little less popular than in other developed countries, with Australia sitting on 6.3 per cent, the US 7.3 per cent and the UK 10.7 per cent.