Guest Blog: New Zealand: Little Country, Big E-Commerce Potential

April 28, 2014

Marketplaces Guest Blogger By Guest Blogger

New ZealandWhen considering potential e-commerce opportunities, the New Zealand market can be easily overlooked. Those on the ‘other side of the world’ may view New Zealand as a quaint island somewhere near Australia (or even more hurtfully confuse it as being part of Australia).

Though geographically small, New Zealand’s culture of ingenuity and indomitability has seen its achievements on the world’s stage exceed its size. This is true when it comes to the sporting arena (The All Blacks, New Zealand’s rugby union team, are the reigning World Cup champions), and as the e-commerce spending ticks past $3.6 billion (New Zealand Retailers Association), the country is also stepping up its game on this front too.

Living in a country geographically distant from many manufacturers and wholesalers, and with low economies of scale, New Zealanders have been conditioned by many local retailers to pay high prices for products. What’s more, many in-demand products still aren’t being delivered to New Zealand. With the rapid growth of cross-border trade, consumers are eager for increased access to quality products, top brands and lower prices.

For international retailers, an easy and cost-effective way to tap into this opportunity is to list products on New Zealand marketplaces.

TrademeWhile eBay and Amazon are the top marketplaces in much of the world, both are dwarfed in New Zealand by the local marketplace: Trade Me. In a country of 4.5 million people, there are 3.4 million member accounts and more than 1 million members bought or sold an item on Trade Me in the past year. With around 700,000 visitors every day, the marketplace ranks as the third most trafficked website in New Zealand, behind Google and Facebook.

What Sort of Platform Is Trade Me?

Known as the place ‘where New Zealanders go to shop online’, Trade Me is a multi-category marketplace that began as a platform for secondhand goods sold in auction format, similar to eBay. Trade Me is now ramping up its status as a new goods, fixed-price, B2C marketplace. I get a lot of comments from eBay sellers who exclaim: ‘It’s like eBay five years ago!’

Because Trade Me is still at an early stage in its evolution,the time is ripe for retailers to take advantage of supply gaps. There’s lots of opportunity for sellers to enter and even dominate a category with competitive product ranges, brands and prices.

A Retailer’s Snapshot Guide to New Zealand:

For retailers looking for a glimpse into New Zealand life, here are a few facts you’ll want to know:

  • English speaking
  • Opposite seasons to the Northern Hemisphere. When it’s fall in the US, it’s spring in New Zealand (think end-of-season fashion!)
  • Product and brand demands are similar to the US
  • E-commerce sales growing quickly compared to offline retail
  • Excellent broadband penetration and high internet use
  • Geographically small, meaning simple shipping solutions
  • Identifies with Western culture and is home to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’

Because Trade Me is a ChannelAdvisor integrated marketplace, you can seamlessly list your products on Trade Me with ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces. To find out more about launching on Trade Me, talk to your ChannelAdvisor representative or email

Hamish Macdonald
Blog post by Trade Me Global Development Manager Hamish Macdonald.  Hamish joined Trade Me in 2012 and is responsible for global marketplace development. In this role Hamish ensures the vibrancy of Trade Me’s marketplace by liaising with international sellers to fill supply gaps. Hamish has an MBA from The University of Auckland.