Christmas Shopping: online or in store?

Online shopping is steadily growing as an industry, but around this time of year we see stores constantly full of people doing their Christmas shopping. So does this mean that our shopping habits favour in-store buying around the Christmas period?

Perhaps not entirely. The Bank of New Zealand’s (BNZ) Online Retails Sales Report for October 2014 found online retail sales year-on-year growth of 13%. Perhaps reflecting this trend, Retail NZ recently hosted the inaugural Online Retailer Conference.

Rather ominously though, the BNZ report found that spending at overseas merchant was up by 28% year-on-year, with electrical and electronic goods being the stand-out performer. “Traditional” retail sale, by contrast, had a reported growth rate over the same period of just 3.4% – ahead of inflation, but not by a great margin.

According to Retail NZ Chief Executive Mark Johnston though, New Zealand retailers – both in store and online – are looking forward to a good Christmas. “We’ve just completed a snapshot survey of our members which shows that 43% of retailers think the last quarter has been better than the previous quarter,” he said. “There’s good news on the horizon too. Kiwis are getting ready for Christmas, and retailers are looking forward to their busiest trading period of the year, with nearly two-thirds of them expecting a good Christmas sales period.”

For those shoppers who are planning to head online for at least some purchases, the New Zealand Bankers’ Association is urging you to stay safe. “Now’s the time that people will be shopping for Christmas. If you’re shopping online there are some simple ways you can protect yourself from financial crime,” said New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Kirk Hope. These ways include:

  • Shop with online retailers that you trust. Also familiarise yourself with the privacy and security information on the site.
  • Check that your own internet connection is secure. The website address will start with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’. There may also be a padlock symbol somewhere on the page.
  • Avoid public computers and public Wi-Fi for internet banking.
  • Be cautious with regards to handing over your personal information such as date of birth, address, driver’s licence number and passport details.
  • When using internet banking, logon by typing in your bank’s full web address rather than clicking on links in emails
  • As always, keep your anti-virus and firewall software up to date.

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