Bricks & Mortar vs Online: How are Kiwis Shopping this Christmas?

Christmas shopping is recognised as a stressful endeavour, with overcrowded malls, parking woes and of course product prices and availability being among the top concerns for consumers. As a result, we can see consumers adapting their Christmas shopping traditions to create a less stressful and more streamlined experience. Market research from Mastercard New Zealand could help retailers understand the new Christmas shopping habits of their consumers.

Kiwis are moving online, with 26 percent of New Zealanders using local online retailers to do the majority of their Christmas shopping, and 11 percent using international online stores. Both numbers have increased dramatically over recent years, while those heading in-store for their shopping has decreased. 51 percent of kiwi shoppers will still be heading to brick and mortar establishments, but this number has dropped by 15 percent since 2016.
But why are Kiwis moving online? The most significant factors for New Zealanders which inform their purchasing decisions are quality (84 percent), price (81 percent) and convenience (78 percent). Online shopping is offering assurances and opportunities that are appealing to these specifications, leaving retail in the dust.

Fortunately, Kiwis are still showing a preference for local retailers both online and in store. Ruth Riviere, the Country Manager for Mastercard New Zealand and Pacific Islands commented on this trend. “While international online stores offer a large range of options, the inevitable last-minute Christmas dash means the convenience of local retailers is hard to beat,” explained Riviere. “One of the benefits of local online stores is they are able to ship all sorts of presents quickly, so consumers have confidence that their gifts will be under the tree on Christmas Day.”

Different industries have felt the burn of online shopping to different capacities. For example, food, wine and spirits and homeware are the top in-store purchasing categories. Whereas books, TV and movies are the gifts purchased most heavily online.

Regarding the fashion industry, clothing and accessories make up 59 percent of in-store purchased gifts, as well as 13 percent of overseas online gifts. However, they have not made a significant dent in New Zealand based on-line purchases.

Christmas is a big time of year for retailers, and adapting to consumers new habits could be the difference between a fruitful season and a sack full of coal.