September 2020 shopping

Online spend in September was 22% up on September 2019. While this is an impressive number, it’s well down on the 32% growth experienced last month in Lockdown 2.0 and the huge 56% growth experienced in April. 

For September 2020 (compared to September 2019):


Increase in
online spend


increase in
online transactions


increase in average
spend per online shopper

For the first nine months of 2020, online spending is 28% up compared to the same period last year. This is driven by more people spending online, buying more often (20% more transactions) and spending more each time (7% higher basket size). On average, we are now spending about $18m a day online. That’s a very healthy 25% up on last year. 

Graph-Online Spend

Around 11% of all retail spending is now online. Even though this continues to grow, in-store (offline) continues to be the main way Kiwis shop. In August we saw offline spend drop 5% as lockdown forced stores to close or restrict customer numbers. This wasn’t as significant as the first lockdown, which saw April spending tumble a massive 41%. In September, offline spend bounced back with a 10% increase. This is back to the month-on-month growth levels we were seeing in June and July.

Buying locally continues to be a big feature of how Kiwis are spending online. So far this year, 71% of our online spend has been domestic. While domestic is still well ahead, we’re seeing international spending start to recover in recent months.  A number of sectors – most notably Department & Variety and Homewares – have shown positive growth over the last month. 

In our view, this reflects the disrupted local supply chain, with some goods becoming unavailable locally, and consumers becoming more price sensitive as the economic recession hits. With the big global shopping events and Christmas ahead, we expect to see more growth in international spending.

We saw some impressive growth figures across several sectors in September, compared to the same time last year:


Local Clothing
& Footwear


Local Homeware


Local Food


Local Departments
& Variety


Overseas Homeware


Local Marketplaces

1.3 million Kiwis shopped online in September, with 1.6% of them shopping for the first time. Taranaki and Northland continue to experience the highest levels of customer growth and we look more deeply at what’s driving this later in this update. Looking at our online shoppers by age, the 75+ group have been leading the way, growing their spend by 34% so far this year. This is three times the growth rate of the under 30s group.  Next month, we’ll explore this a little more and highlighted the difference between the age groups.

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