In recent years, we’ve seen November’s sales events become more than a one-day thing with promotions starting progressively earlier and lasting longer. This trend was clearly present this year with many businesses seemingly offering continuous deals throughout the month. As a result, we saw the big sales highs on days other than the designated event days. Singles' Day, for example, peaked before the big day, partly driven by early promotional activity and also by the launch in New Zealand of Click Frenzy, a popular Australian online sales event. Black Friday spending peaked on the Wednesday before Black Friday, leading some commentators to refer to this week as ‘Black Week.’
The summit of November’s big spending period has historically been the four-day weekend which spans Black Friday to Cyber Monday. And while this wasn’t the peak this year, online spending exceeded $141.3 million, up 23% compared to the same four days in 2020 and up 60% on 2019.
The big spending numbers continued into December. The month as a whole saw online spending of $760 million, up 28% on December 2020 and a huge 50% up on December 2019. Total spending, online and offline, for the month, was $6.7 billion, up 5% from 2020. This was good news for physical retailers, especially in Auckland, with national daily instore spending peaking at close to $300 million just before Christmas.
With an extended period of high spending, it was feared that Boxing Day may not live up to its reputation for driving a shopping frenzy. There was no need to fear with nearly $195 million spent on Boxing Day across both online and off. That was just 3% lower than in 2020. Online growth was more spectacular, 29% up on Boxing Day 2020, driven by nearly 184,000 online transactions for the day. Like the earlier sales events, Boxing Day promotions seemed to start much earlier and extend well beyond the day and into the new year, allowing retailers to finish the year strongly.
The quarter’s other key trends
Regional online spending
- Given the ongoing impact of lockdowns and restrictions, Auckland showed the strongest growth in online spending, up 63% compared with Q4 2020, and up 94% compared with pre-Covid Q4 2019. Aucklanders’ online spending of $1.09 billion made up 44% of the national online spend.
- Two other regions that experienced lockdowns and restrictions during the quarter, Waikato and Northland, rounded out the top three strongest growing regions, with online spending up 43% and 42% respectively compared to Q4 2020.
- All regions experienced strong growth, above 25%, compared to Q4 2020.
What online shoppers purchased
- Kiwis bought more of everything online in Q4 2021, with all sectors experiencing growth of over 25% compared to the same quarter in 2020.
- The sectors with the strongest growth were: Clothing and Footwear (up 70%), Department, Variety & Misc. Retail (up 67%), and Homewares, Appliances & Electronics (up 64%).
- And Buy Now, Pay Later continued its phenomenal run over the last few years, with increased spend of 53% compared to Q4 2020 and more than double compared to Q4 2019.
Who’s buying online?
- While the 30–60-year-old age group still dominates online spending numbers, the 15–29-year age group grew the most this quarter, up 49% on Q4 last year and 81% on Q4 2019.
The data used in this eCommerce Spotlight is card transactional data supplied by Datamine. We are continually reviewing and refining our methodology to bring our readers the most relevant and accurate information possible. At times, as we update our approach, this creates some discrepancies with previously published information. While we don’t go back and adjust earlier published information, when comparing current information with past periods we use consistent like-for-like methodology.