eCommerce Spotlight

eCommerce Spotlight December

Volumes reach new highs

Despite everything going on in the world around us and the fear of recession, we saw November retail shopping volumes – driven by Singles Day (11/11), Black Friday (27/11) and Cyber Monday (30/11) - hit new all-time highs. At a massive $5b, November’s retail spend was even bigger than the biggest months experienced over lockdown (May, $4.1b).  

A reduced ability to travel may have been behind an increase in discretionary spend for many. For others, the tougher economic conditions meant getting the Christmas shopping done in the sales is a practical necessity. Whatever the reason, we saw November sales growth outstrip the same period last year. Hopefully, shoppers haven’t over-extended their wallets, with Buy Now Pay Later deferred payment sales up 42% on November last year.

Total spend (online and off) in November:

Total spend
November 2020
November 2020 spend
up on November 2019
Spend on Black Friday
- the biggest shopping day

Online spend

It wasn’t only the shopping tills ringing, with our online shopping carts also overflowing this November. While physical (offline) sales grew by a strong 8%, it was online sales that saw the biggest growth. In November there were over five million online transactions, delivering sales of $585m. This is a massive 27% higher than online sales in the same month last year. This is great news for retailers and the local economy, especially given that 70% of this spend was here in New Zealand.


Graph Dec 2020 Online Spend


Sales peaked on Black Friday with $34m being spent online in just that one day. This is the largest single day spend throughout 2020. Cyber Monday wasn’t too far behind on $33m. With these two big days, November’s overall spend ($585m) was almost at the online highs we saw during lockdown in May ($600m), after the Level 4 lockdown. November saw 1.38 million shoppers make 5 million transactions. Back in May we had 1.48 million shoppers online and 5.6 million transactions.

Online Shopping November 2020 (Compared to November 2019):

Total Shoppers (up 11%)
Average transaction
per shopper (up 4.4%)
Average basket size (up 11%)

Delivering for our customers

Video case study

The big sales volumes over the Black Friday - Cyber Monday period meant a busy time for our NZ Post delivery teams. Our Chief Operating Officer, Brendon Main, talks about how we planned, the huge volumes of parcels we handled and what we did to make sure Kiwis had their parcels delivered when they were expecting them. 

Event days spotlight

With existing shoppers increasing their spending and more new shoppers joining the online events each year, sales events are an important part of a retailer's year. However, with some COVID related supply chain challenges impacting stock levels, we saw some online retailers choose not to participate in the sales this year. Others, keen not to miss out on the opportunity, offered deals on items they don't have in stock yet, with a promise to deliver before Christmas. 

Singles Day 

Singles Day is the largest sales event in the world but still lagging well behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday here in New Zealand. Singles Day kicks off the ‘peak period’ that goes all the way through Christmas and Boxing Day. This year we saw sales growth start earlier with big global players, like Alibaba, running their Singles Day promotions for two weeks leading up to 11/11. 

2020 spend 11/11
(199k transactions)
2019 spend 11/11
(203k transactions)
Growth in spend

Another interesting trend is that Singles Day is becoming more than a one day event, with over $20m in sales for each of the days either side of Singles Day.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 

Similar to the global experience, New Zealand sales started earlier with a number of big players running pre-Black Friday sales earlier in the week to avoid the competitive clutter of the day. 

2020 Black Friday spend
(260k transactions)
2019 Black Friday spend
(221k transactions)
Black Friday spend Growth
2020 Cyber Monday
spend (260k transactions)
2019 Cyber Monday
spend (210k transactions)
Cyber Monday spend Growth

Over the four shopping days from Black Friday to Cyber Monday we saw online spend of $115m, up 30% from $88m on the same four days last year. 

November online shopper profiles

Where is spending coming from?

  • The top three regions by sales volume were Auckland ($227m),Wellington ($66m) and Canterbury ($63m).
  • The largest sales growth (compared to November 2019) was in Hawke's Bay (38%), Marlborough (35%) and Nelson (34%)

Who’s spending?

  • The leading age groups by sales volume were 40-45 year olds ($73m) and the 35-40 and 45-50 year olds (with $65m each).
  • The largest sales growth, compared to last year, was in the older 75-80 age group (51%) and in the younger 15-20 age group (36%).

What are they buying?

  • The top sectors by sales volume were Department & Variety  ($120m), Specialty Food, Groceries & Liquor ($108m) and Homewares, Appliances & Electronics ($77m).
  • The largest sales growth (compared to November 2019) was in Homewares, Appliances & Electronics (61%) and Clothing & Footwear (45%).
  • Marketplace sales volumes were up 34% compared to November 2019.

Where does growth go from here?

Will these trends continue through to Christmas, the Boxing Day sales and into the New Year? Traditionally the Christmas shopping rush is based on physical shopping but with COVID 19 introducing more online shoppers, online spend has the potential to reach new heights before the end of the year. Add to this the arrival of delayed inventory into the country and we’re expecting the big numbers to flow well into the new year.
At NZ Post, we’ve been gearing up for this next wave of shopping parcel deliveries, putting on extra resources to ensure we get everything under the tree for Christmas.

In the next update, we’ll reflect on the growth in online shopping throughout 2020, including the COVID-led peaks and all the fourth quarter shopping events. We’ll also look forward to what should be another year of strong online growth in 2021.

The data used for this eCommerce Spotlight is card transactional data supplied by Datamine.

How we can help

You don’t become New Zealand’s favourite courier without learning a thing or two along the way. We deliver more online shopping, and to a higher service standard, than any courier company in NZ. We know that what we do has a direct impact on how successful your business is. And that’s why we go all out to have such a great range of product, services and people to help your business grow - from product ideas right through to logistics and delivery anywhere in NZ and the world. 

Get in touch and let's talk about becoming partners.

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