Online retail sales are growing at twice the rate of traditional retailing and the rate is rising. September was especially strong for buying electronic goods online

Online purchases of electrical and electronic goods (including computers) were particularly strong – up nearly +40% compared to September last year. In July and August the annual growth rate had been running at around +25-30%.

September 2015 saw new smartphone releases, although so did September last year.

This activity capped a strong month of online retail trading, as reported in the BNZ-Marketview monthly survey.

Total online retail spending in September was up +15% compared to the same month last year. According to StatisticsNZ, total retailing sales as measured in their electronic card transactions series rose only +6.1% in the year to September.

Online spending at international sites showed continued buoyancy – up +26% on September 2014. This partly reflects currency effects. Compared to a year ago the NZ dollar was flat relative to the Australian dollar, but down -22% against the US dollar (a key transaction currency) and down -18% against the British pound. The weaker NZD makes imported goods more expensive, but the data suggests volumes are rising nonetheless.

Growth in online spending at local merchants mirrored that for goods bought at physical stores, up +7% on September last year.