What New Zealanders want, and how you can give it to them

New Zealand is a pretty ka pai place. Consistently named one of the top countries to live in the world, there are many benefits, like the scenery, the culture, and the lifestyle, to name a few.

However, finding information about New Zealanders and how to market to them isn’t always easy. Especially when it comes to habits and spending (unless we’re talking sport). Most online information is for the US, UK or Australian markets.

Anecdotal evidence can be helpful to a degree, but sometimes you need the cold hard facts to help make informed business decisions.

At Storbie, we’ve sorted through the latest reports relating to Kiwi shopping habits to bring insights for how best to sell to the locals.

Kiwis love to shop

Shopping is a favourite pastime of New Zealanders, with us collectively spending $49 billion each year in retail sales, according to Statistics NZ.

Marketview reports that online spending is on the rise, and growing at a faster rate than spending in-store, up 15% in September 2018 compared to the same time last year. In comparison, in-store spending is up just 4.5%.

In 2016, two thirds of New Zealanders were shopping online, according to Nielson, with this number expected to rise to 83% by 2026. However, a PriceSpy survey reported in April 2018 has found a sharper increase than predicted, with 85% of New Zealanders now shopping online, 28% of whom prefer online to a physical store.

Spending across retailers using the Storbie platform shows a growth of 10% YTD compared to this time in 2017, with a strong Christmas season predicted.

What you can do: Ensure your business is ecommerce enabled by creating a standalone website and providing straight-forward shipping options, and make it easy for consumers to find you online by joining a Marketplace.

Spending is up in the regions

According to NZ Post, online spending is growing at 15% in the regions, making them the fastest growing areas for ecommerce in New Zealand.

In 2017:

  • Online shoppers in Gisborne, spent $30 million, an increase of 19%
  • Taranaki shoppers spend the most on average per transactions with an online spend of $124.50.
  • Northland’s number of transactions is growing the fastest with 36%

Online spending is increasing at an even higher rate in 2018 through Storbie. In Q3 2018, Cambridge, Havelock North, Hawera, Paihia, and Tauranga more than tripled the amount of purchases made compared to the same time in the previous year. That’s not to say the main cities aren’t also full of shopaholics. Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Dunedin all rank amongst the top spenders nationwide.

What you can do: Make shipping as easy as possible with affordable and clear information. Keep an eye on major regional events, eg Napier’s Art Deco Festival and the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival (check out our marketing dates for help on this!). You may also wish to offer specials or discounts on regional Anniversary weekends.

Kiwis want to support local

New Zealand’s online spending across retail categories is now approximately $4.5 billion, excluding GST, and spending at domestic stores is growing at a faster rate than at overseas sites. In September, domestic clothing retailers saw a strong growth of 26% compared to last year, while international was down 3%.

According to Nielsen, half of Kiwis try to buy New Zealand made products as often as possible.

The trend to support local is likely due to the increase of New Zealand businesses making the move to ecommerce. In 2017 alone, 17% of all independent pharmacies in New Zealand made the move to online.

There has also been an increase in awareness of one’s eco-footprint as Kiwis are actively making their lifestyles more sustainable, according to a Colmar Brunton survey released in January 2018. Shipping from overseas is counter to sustainability messages.

Storbie hosts the Buy NZ Market, which includes licencees of the Buy NZ Made Campaign so you can be confident that the products you purchase from it are certified NZ Made. We also have a number of other Marketplaces for shoppers to browse, and NZ businesses to join. Find out more here.

What you can do: Ensure shoppers know that they’re supporting a local company:

  • Include your physical location
  • Include local place names or identifiers
  • Incorporate relevant Kiwiana and Te Reo Māori language
  • Introduce yourself as a New Zealand company
  • If you sell New Zealand made items, make this clear
  • If your products and services have been made or grown in New Zealand, apply for a Buy NZ Made licence and join the BuyNZ Market.

Local also means supporting the neighbours

New Zealand is the top ecommerce destination for Australian goods, according to Australia Post.

The most popular purchases from Australia are fashion (both men’s and women’s), cosmetics and beauty, auto parts, and books.

Australia Post and New Zealand Post partnered together to provide competitive delivery (2-4 business days) and affordable shipping ($15 flat rate) for businesses which has allowed for better deals for New Zealand customers looking to shop internationally.

Australia is also supporting NZ businesses. While the majority of sales across Storbie sites are New Zealanders supporting New Zealand businesses, Australian shoppers come in second, ahead of the US, UK, and Canada.

What you can do: Celebrate products that come from Australia as you would New Zealand items. If you are the only stockist of a range of Aussie items, shout it from the rooftop!

We’re a multi-cultural country

While Maori culture is often at the forefront of New Zealand marketing, we embrace and promote many more cultures nationally.

29% of New Zealanders speak languages other than English at home according to Stats NZ, with the most common non-English languages being Te Reo Māori, Samoan, Hindi, Chinese, and French.

There are around a dozen languages promoted across the year at a national level, along with an International Languages Week. New Zealanders also celebrate cultural events such as Chinese New Year, Matariki and Diwali.

While we await the results from the 2018 Census, the results from 2013 show nearly three quarters of Kiwis identify with one or more European ethnicities. The next highest group was Maori at 15%, Asian at 12%, and Pacific at 7.5%.

And while 75% of people living in New Zealand were born here, migrants have mostly come from the UK (over 256,000), China (96,000), India (67,000), Australia (62,000), and South Africa (54,000).

Storbie provides a marketing calendar with notable dates for your business to potentially align with, including important language and cultural festivities.

What you can do: Include local colloquialisms and embrace diversity in your marketing and website. Get involved in local cultural events and have a go at various language weeks. Remember to be careful of appropriating a culture or mixing languages which may have an unintended meaning, for example: Coca-Cola’s “Kia Ora Mate” marketing actually meant “Hello Death”.


Storbie is New Zealand’s ecommerce platform, with over $40 million in products sold. We make business easy with free Marketplaces to join, no success fees and a range of payment gateway options.

While there will always be bargain hunters online and off, what many people are looking for is a connection, a reason to shop and spend money. The easier it is to do business, and the quality of products provided, the more likely customers will return.

For more marketing tips, check out our 22 Marketing Tips to Promote your Online Shop.

Login to your Storbie site here. Not yet connected? Find out more here.

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