More than half of all smartphone, computer and tablet purchases in New Zealand come from physical retail stores, with the country still preferring bricks and mortar over online.
According to IDC findings, 53 per cent of Kiwis favour retail outlets, which is significantly higher than the worldwide physical retail purchase average of only 37 per cent.
With Amazon’s invasion of Australia already underway, and New Zealand expected to follow, the results will provide comfort for local tech retailers such as PB Tech, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Noel Leeming and The Warehouse, who face continued competition from online marketplaces.
“New Zealand consumers appear to have found a comfort zone in purchasing from physical retail stores,” IDC New Zealand market analyst Chayse Gorton said.
“The reasons are clear, New Zealand consumers highlighted trying devices in store as their second highest influencer of purchase decisions and talking with sales people at a store also rated strongly.”
As outlined by Gorton, the physical elements of purchasing a device still hold high regard in New Zealand.
However, the number one influencer for Kiwi consumers purchasing decisions was reading product reviews, indicating that the online channel will grow in importance in the New Zealand market.
“With consumers becoming increasingly tech savvy and online retailers such as Amazon gaining increased media attention, New Zealand consumers may begin to step outside their brick and mortar comfort zone,” Gorton added.
“If Amazon are successful in Australia, it is only a matter of time before they enter the New Zealand market.”
Given that New Zealanders continue to show a preference to physical store purchases, Gorton said retailers should continue to provide the best hands on experiences with devices in store and well-trained staff.
“IDC believes that local retail players must ensure they have a strong online option for consumers to compete with incoming threats, such as a potential Amazon entry,” Gorton added.
“New Zealand retailers, more than ever before, need to ensure their competitiveness on two fronts, physical and online.”
The nation’s fondness for physical stores has not gone unnoticed however, with Spark set to move away from a dealer partner model in New Zealand, with plans in place to take on direct management of all consumer stores.
As reported by Reseller News, the shift sees the telco giant in the process of moving 26 retail stores nationwide from management by dealer partners Leading Edge and Orb to direct management by Spark.
According to the company, the end goal is to have all mall and high street consumer stores under Spark ownership from late 2017.
Through directly owning 36 stores already, the addition of the 26 dealer stores will bring Spark’s total owned stores to 62 across the country, with no plans to close stores.
Yet despite the encouraging news for retailers across the country, according to Stuff, international online sales could soon surpass physical stores as the nation embraces online shopping.
As reported by Stuff, figures from Marketview and BNZ found total online spending was up 10 per cent on June last year, with 45 per cent of all sales going overseas.
In addition, international sales were up 13 per cent, compared to a nine per cent rise in local online spending.