Retailing Now

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An overview of the New Zealand retail sector


The retail sector is a significant part of the New Zealand economy and is one of the only sectors that affects every Kiwi, every day. Retail is a highly competitive market, both online and in traditional bricks and motor, and is continuously changing to meet consumer demands. Retail is driven by consumer behaviour in many respects and it is a constant challenge for retailers to keep up with demand for products and services whilst delivering a unique shopping experience for the customer.



Retail is an incredibly diverse industry and includes everything from fuel and grocery, to fashion, electronics, building supplies, jewellers and cars. Retail NZ is here to help the large and diverse retail sector deliver success across the nation. Retailing Now is a high-level view of the retail sector's performance and is a guide to understanding what retail in New Zealand is like today, and where it will be heading in the future.

Recent market developments have seen significant change for retailers and consumers alike. Month to month, retailers are struggling to see growth in consumer spending, but in the long-run things are better overall for the retail sector. There is more competition, greater pressure on businesses to demonstrate they are environmentally conscious, increased pressure on wages and operational costs and a number of other employment law changes that affect most retail businesses. While the changes are significant, retailers are resilient and work hard to meet customer demand. Growth in online spending is skyrocketing, with a 19 per cent increase in domestic spend online in 2018. Additionally, retailers in New Zealand are continuing to outperform Australia's retail market.


I hope that our members, as well as others who have a keen interest in the retail sector, find this report to be a useful tool to help them achieve future success.


If you have questions or feedback about the report please get in touch.




Greg Harford
Chief Executive, Retail NZ




Updated 4th December 2019