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COVID-19 pandemic continues to change Kiwis' shopping habits, report finds

By Catherine Knowles, Fri 5 Nov 2021

A new survey of New Zealand consumers from Shopify demonstrates the ways New Zealanders are evolving their shopping habits and preferences in line with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leading up to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) sales in late November, a vast majority (88%) of New Zealanders say that COVID-19 will impact the way they shop, with the most common outcome being an increase in online shopping (mentioned by 60% of shoppers).

New Zealand shoppers say they plan to spend on average $713 over the BFCM long weekend, with a third (35%) citing their plans to spend more than they did last year.

BFCM shoppers plan to look for clothing/footwear/accessories (51%), electronics (40%), and toys/games/hobby supplies (30%).

The survey also shows New Zealanders are a nation of planners when it comes to bargain-hunting. One in five BFCM shoppers (22%) say they're already looking for deals. Another 66% plan to start looking for deals before the long weekend starts.

Macro disruptions to the retail industry, resulting in supply chain disruptions and shipping delays, has also contributed to New Zealand shoppers' habits this BFCM.

Click and collect was reported as more popular among younger and middle-aged online BFCM shoppers, with 45% of 18-34 and 41% of 35-54 online shoppers planning to use curbside pickup during BFCM, compared to just 17% of those aged 55 and over.

In spite of the well-reported strain on delivery services worldwide, New Zealand shoppers maintain high expectations of shipping, with a clear majority (55%) of online BFCM shoppers expecting their purchases will be shipped for free. In addition, 77% expect the retailer to cover the cost of shipping of any return items.

Shopify managing director APAC Shaun Broughton says, “New Zealanders have been quick to adapt their shopping habits to the new norm brought about by COVID-19.

"But the survey results clearly show they expect something in return for this agility: namely, decent delivery and click and collect options and free shipping."

He continues, “The fact so many New Zealanders are planning on researching deals before the long weekend, combined with how many have embraced online shopping, shows the retail industry is dealing with an incredibly savvy shopper in general one who wouldn't hesitate to research and compare deals and checkout options to find exactly what they want.”

Broughton concludes, ‘It’s great to see so many New Zealand shoppers planning on buying locally this BFCM. It’s been a tough year for local retailers, who have shown tremendous resilience in reimagining what retail can be.

"New Zealand consumers are keen to throw their support behind community-owned businesses, rather than at the big department stores, which reinforces the Shop Local movement which gained so much momentum during the pandemic."

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • 35% of online BFCM shoppers mentioned wanting to avoid shopping in-store because of COVID-19.
  • Men plan to spend significantly more than women ($892 vs. $527), as are those with children at home ($833 vs. $616 no children at home) and middle-aged shoppers ($632 among 18-34, $932 among 35-54 and $447 among 55+).
  • 63% plan to shop in-store (in some capacity), with most in-store BFCM purchases made at locally-owned stores (60%) or department stores (52%).
  • Younger and middle-aged online shoppers are generally more likely to purchase an item directly from a social media platform, primarily from Facebook (54% and 55% respectively) or Instagram (48% and 32% respectively).
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