With $4.69 billion in e-commerce revenue in 2022, New Zealand is ranked as the 45th largest e-commerce market globally. This puts it just ahead of the United Arab Emirates. Post-COVID, New Zealand’s e-commerce sales in 2022 dipped back to 2020 levels. However, popularity continues to increase, and revenue is expected to reach $8.3 billion by 2027 as new and existing markets develop and expand. Let’s delve into the features, strengths, and opportunities that define e-commerce in New Zealand.

Facts & Figures

The geographically isolated island nation of New Zealand sits in the southern Pacific, more than 1,600 km southeast of its nearest neighbor, Australia. It comprises two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, along with over 700 smaller islands that are scattered throughout the region—some of which are hundreds of kilometers away from the main cluster. The two main islands span approximately 1,600 km in total length, with a width of about 450 km at the widest point of the North Island. With a landmass just shy of 270,000 square kilometers, New Zealand is larger than Great Britain but smaller than Italy. Around two-thirds of the land is economically viable, while the remainder is ruggedly mountainous.

Of the two islands, the North Island is most populous. It is home to over three-fifths of the country’s nearly 5 million inhabitants. The capital city of Wellington (population 200,000), and the largest city, Auckland (population 1.6 million) are found on the North Island. New Zealand is heavily urbanized: aside from the extensive Auckland metropolitan area, where a third of the nation’s population can be found, there are many smaller towns and a few larger provincial cities with 10,000 – 20,000 inhabitants dotting the landscape. Over three-quarters of the total population live in urban areas. Rural areas of New Zealand are sparsely populated, and there is a growing trend of rural-to-urban migration.

Despite its remote location, New Zealand is an active member of several international organizations, including the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations. After being annexed by Great Britain in 1840, New Zealand was largely under British control until the 1920s. It became independent in 1947, when it adopted the Statute of Westminster.

New Zealand is now a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, based on the British system of government. King Charles III is thus the official head of state. The country is divided into 16 regions and 53 districts, managed by 78 councils for local administration.

New Zealand has two standard time zones. The North and South Islands run 12 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), while the Chatham Islands differ by an additional 45 minutes. Like many European countries, New Zealand practices daylight saving time, advancing the clock by an hour during summer. However, this gets tricky: because summer in New Zealand is winter in Europe, there is a 12-hour time difference during the European winter, but only a 10-hour difference during the European summer!

New Zealand boasts a highly developed market economy and generated a substantial Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$247.23 billion in 2022, despite its relatively small population. This works out to US$42,271.71 per capita. However, on the global stage, New Zealand’s economy is relatively modest: it has ranked around 50th in terms of GDP over the past few years.

The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD), which is divided into 100 cents. One New Zealand dollar is generally worth around €0.55 to €0.65 euro.

Language and Localization

The official language of New Zealand is English, alongside the minority Maori language. Maori is the language of the indigenous Maori people in New Zealand, and was given the status of official language in 1987. Maori is spoken by approximately 100,000 native speakers, which is roughly a quarter of the Maori population. Other languages spoken in New Zealand include Samoan, Hindi, and Mandarin.

For the most part, New Zealand English follows the same rules of spelling and grammar as British English. However, there are some minor differences in spelling preferences. Additionally, New Zealand English has incorporated some Maori words, which might be used in more casual contexts. To make the best possible impression on your target customers, it would be advisable to have your existing English website localized for a New Zealand audience, if possible.

Trends & Insights

Here, we’ll present some of the most important trends and insights into New Zealand’s shopping behavior, tech habits and payment preferences.

Shopping habits

In 2022, e-commerce accounted for 12% of all retail spending in New Zealand, and 40% of shoppers feel that they shopped more online in 2022 than in the previous two years. 37% of online shoppers in New Zealand were between the ages of 30 and 44 years old. People aged 75 and over were least likely to buy things online.

The platform Trade Me stands out as one of the most popular online marketplaces for New Zealand products. It was established as a local alternative to eBay in 1999, and achieved a revenue of USD$250 million in 2020. In 2021, Trade Me had 17.7 million visits to its site. Other significant players in the New Zealand e-commerce landscape include websites like kmart.co.nz, ebay.com and amazon.com.

In 2023, clothing was the most popular purchase category for e-commerce shoppers, with 50% of survey respondents indicating that they buy clothing online. Shoes, followed by food and beverages, were the next most commonly purchased items. The least popular items to buy online were bags and luggage.

Technology Use and Payment Preferences

In 2021, around 76% of New Zealanders owned a smartphone, and the number of mobile phone connections is currently greater than the country’s total population. Apple is the most popular brand of smartphone in the country.

As of January 2021, 49% of New Zealand’s internet traffic was generated by people using laptops and desktop computers, while 46% came from people using mobile phones.  Given the widespread use of smartphones and a high internet penetration rate of approximately 94%, mobile e-commerce sales are expected to continue growing.

Over half of online transactions in New Zealand’s e-commerce are paid for using credit cards, accounting for USD$2.3 billion in sales. A unique digital payment platform in New Zealand is pOLI, which makes it easy for shoppers to pay for their purchases using direct bank transfer. This option is growing in popularity, partially thanks to its use on TradeMe. Another local hero is Windcave (formerly Payment Express), which offers credit card processing and bank transfers for e-commerce sellers. Buy-now-pay-later services such as AfterPay are also gaining in popularity.

The New Zealand Post is the most commonly used delivery service in New Zealand. It is joined by other local shippers such as Now Courier, which offers same-day deliveries within Auckland, New Zealand Couriers, with nationwide overnight delivery, and Aramex New Zealand, among others.

Imports and Exports

New Zealand’s economy had traditionally relied on agricultural exports, but in the 19th and 20th centuries, it experienced rapid expansion. However, this growth slowed in tandem with the British economy’s deceleration in the mid-20th century. Back then, the primary destination for New Zealand’s exports was the United Kingdom. But times have changed: New Zealand is now among the most globally integrated economies and relies heavily on international trade.

Key trading partners for local exports include Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. Agricultural products, notably meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables, alongside petroleum, timber, and paper products, remain New Zealand’s primary exports. Key imports include crude and refined oil, machinery, and vehicles.

International shopping is popular in New Zealand, and international marketplaces accounted for over NZ$250 million of New Zealanders’ cross-border spending. AliExpress, Amazon, Wish and eBay are the most popular options, with The Iconic, The Book Depository and ASoS also getting plenty of visits.

57% of those who shop internationally buy from Australia, which makes Australia slightly more popular than China. 50% of shoppers who buy internationally buy from China, and together, the two countries account for two-thirds of international purchases in New Zealand.

Customs and Importation Fees

When importing goods into New Zealand, taxes and fees may apply, although the customs department does not collect any duty, fees or GST unless the value of an item/shipment is over NZ$1000.  If a person or business imports multiple shipments from one supplier and they all arrive on the same day, they will be treated as a single shipment, which may take the value of the order over NZ$1000.

Import duties are applied to the value of the goods and varies based on what type of product it is, where it was produced and where they were sent from. Additionally, a 15% Goods & Services Tax (GST) is applied to the value of the product, plus shipping costs, plus any fees. Anyone importing goods valued at NZ$1000 or more will need to apply for a Customs Number.


While New Zealand’s e-commerce market might seem relatively small compared to neighboring markets in the Asia-Pacific region, it does come with many advantages. The highly urbanized, tech-savvy consumer base and high internet penetration rate make this an attractive target market, while free trade agreements with key trading partners like the UK, Australia and China simplify cross-border transactions.

Moreover, cross-border transactions are a significant part of New Zealand’s online shopping culture, with an increasing number of purchases made from overseas. That means there is plenty of opportunity for international businesses to target shoppers there. Lastly, the fact that New Zealand is an English-speaking country means that only minor localization will be needed to launch your website. Overall, this country is small yet mighty in terms of e-commerce, and definitely worth considering as a target market!



autor_eurotext_100Author: Eurotext Editorial Team

We explain how internationalization works, provide tips for your translation projects and outline some of the technology and processes used. We also report on current e-commerce developments and cover a range of language-related topics.