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The New Zealand economy was worth £140 billion in 2016 and the market is strong, stable and increasingly focused on e-commerce purchases. It is the 53rd-largest national economy in the world but has the 29th highest GDP per capita, signalling a growing market that is increasingly productive.
New Zealand is regarded as a very open and receptive business location – in 2016, it was ranked first out of 185 countries on the World Bank’s Ease Of Doing Business Index. In recent years it has welcomed a swathe of large international brands, including IKEA, H&M and Topshop. For British exporters it is a particularly open market with well-established cultural ties, English speaking consumers and similar legal and financial systems.
New Zealand is an island nation made up of two main islands (North Island and South Island) and a number of smaller islets. It ranks 74 out of 239 in the world in terms of size in square kms and South Island is the 12th largest island in the world. Auckland is far and away the most populated city with roughly 1.49 million residents – this makes it the top target area in New Zealand when it comes to finding your customers.
Outside of the main urban areas many towns and villages in New Zealand are small and fairly isolated and don’t offer much shopping choice. As a result, e-commerce is a booming market in New Zealand – in 2014/15 more than 2 million adults purchased online, and this growing trend towards online buying is supported by increasing digital infrastructure – New Zealand has the 10th highest uptake of broadband internet access in the OECD.
Strong exports from the UK to New Zealand include electrical products, print products and pharmaceuticals.
With firm ties to the British culture, Australia and New Zealand offer an excellent opportunity for British online retailers to export to. Find out more in the eBook.Download Now
New Zealanders’ online purchases total more than $4.6 billion a year, according to Nielsen, and more than two thirds of New Zealand online shoppers are regularly purchasing from overseas sites. The relative newness of the New Zealand online market, as well as its openness to overseas businesses, makes New Zealand very fertile ground for UK exporters.
Crucially, availability of products is a big issue in New Zealand – around two thirds of people say that they have purchased online from overseas businesses because they could not find items on a New Zealand retail site. The e-commerce market has grown by 28% a year since 2012 and around half the population of the country now shops online.
According to the Nielsen 2016 E-commerce Report, around a third of the reasons for New Zealanders not shopping online relate to delivery concerns. The top reason is high delivery costs. Nielsen says “Providing a great delivery service [in New Zealand] is a differentiating factor that will give an edge to e-retailers over their competitors.”
Consumers in New Zealand expect swift delivery but the choice and range of products from overseas businesses means they will often compromise on shipping times. For example, according to the IPC cross-border e-commerce shopper survey for 2016, half of the consumers in Australia and New Zealand expected goods to arrive within 4-5 days.
The most popular types of purchases made by New Zealanders from overseas websites are travel, fashion, books, music and entertainment.
The New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment keeps tight control on imports and in particular those that might present a biosecurity risk. Some items may have to go through the process of cleaning or treatment to avoid unwanted pests or diseases being introduced into the country. Food is particularly controlled, but other products must also meet New Zealand's safety standards.
All goods entering the country must be declared with the New Zealand customs service. Almost everything imported into New Zealand is subject to duties, GST (15%) and other possible charges – including an import entry transaction fee (IETF) and MPI biosecurity system entry levy. However, there is generally no charge where items are worth less than $60.