E-commerce in Oceania: what’s driving sales in New Zealand and Australia?

29 August, 2022

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Within the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, there are a number e-commerce markets performing exceptionally well. In many cases, for example in Vietnam, Malaysia or Thailand, this can be attributed to ongoing economic development. New middle-class affluence, improvements in infrastructure and rapid digital uptake are all things that go hand in hand with growth in e-commerce adoption.

In the case of Oceania, however, the enduring growth of online retail has slightly different roots. New Zealand and Australia already have mature e-commerce markets and economies. So what’s driving purchases to make this particular area of APAC so appealing for global retailers?

Australia and New Zealand: New shoppers discover e-commerce

Digital economies everywhere saw rapid upswings when COVID-19 led to blanket lockdowns across most of the globe. While the public stayed home to contain the spread of the virus, they turned in their droves to online retail to purchase necessities that they could no longer pick up in-store.

But for Australia and New Zealand, the response to the pandemic was particularly cautious, which meant that large proportions of the population spent especially prolonged periods in lockdown. With so much time indoors, Australians and New Zealanders contributed to 20% YOY growth in 2021.

Amongst these online consumers, 2.5 million Australians and 306,000 New Zealanders were shopping online for the first time, which goes some way to explaining the impressive increase in e-commerce revenues. For those newcomers, the proven convenience of online shopping means they are unlikely to revert to their pre-pandemic shopping habits in the future.

Australasians’ income, connectivity and social media use

The pandemic also coincided with an incredible 49% increase in online purchases of homeware and electrical appliances across Oceania. To some extent, the fact that Australasian consumers were able to splash out on home improvements and luxury items is indicative of their relative wealth; Australia and New Zealand have per capita GDP values of £61,941 and $44,226, respectively.

As you would expect for countries with high GDP, both New Zealand and Australia have high internet penetration (92% and 91%), as well as the digital and physical infrastructure needed to support effective e-commerce.

Facilitated by this digital infrastructure, both nations have high social media usage, too. Crucially, social media plays a big part in consumers’ cross-border purchasing. For example, $250 million of New Zealand’s annual foreign e-commerce spend is made through social platforms.

Grow your e-commerce business in Oceania with Asendia

If you’re keen to learn more about the e-commerce markets of Australia and New Zealand, Asendia can help. We are experts in global e-commerce logistics, have strong partnerships with the region’s leading last mile delivery companies and a range of products to meet the needs of you and your customers.

Our e-book, Why is Malaysia the ideal e-commerce destination? is free to download and contains more insights and guidance on this promising market. Read it today.


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