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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE All Abuzz After Holiday Shopping Fest
First Christmas a Success for Leading Internet Retailer

Auckland – Friday, 4 February 2000 – Leading Internet retailer is bathed in a rosy New Year’s glow as it reviews the success of its Christmas and holiday sales.

The company’s sales grew exponentially during the lead up to Christmas, peaking the week prior as customers wisely allowed lead-time for Christmas deliveries. The company won’t reveal numbers (in common with other e-tailers, online sales numbers are held very closely) but says that it achieved sales volumes four times greater than expected, based on its understanding of previous online Christmas sales in New Zealand.

Of the several categories of goods sold on the site, books were the big winners, accounting for two-thirds of sales, with software, videos and office supplies making up the balance. Business didn’t stop on December 24 however, as customers emerged from the piles of unwrapped presents and general festivities to begin shopping again on Christmas Day. Returns have been minimal, running at fewer than 1% of orders over the period.

Have things returned to normal since? Hardly. Sales continue to grow as Internet usage rises. And that has been the universal e-tail experience.’s growth in the New Zealand market mirrors those of e-tailers in more established markets such as the U.S.

Research publication, e-Marketer, forecast that U.S. holiday shopping sales would reach US$7.3 billion, although, because of competitive sensitivities, it does not expect to be able to provide preliminary figures until March 2000.

E-Marketer’s estimates sit mid spectrum, in line with Jupiter and Yankee Groups. Other estimates range from Gartner Group’s forecast of US$4.5 billion to Ernst & Young’s US$10 to US$13 billion.

Ernst & Young’s report, released last week,* shows that in the U.S., a significant number of consumers (34% of households) are online, and half of those households (17%) have become online shoppers. This growth pattern is also taking shape worldwide. Following the U.S. in percentage of households to shop online in 1999 are the U.K. at 10%, Canada (9%), Australia (5%), France (2%) and Italy (1%).

Ernst & Young also found that consumers are making significantly more purchases online. Of Internet buyers in the U.S. 39% made 10 or more purchases during the past 12 months. By comparison, 20% of Australians made frequent purchases, with Canada, the U.K. and France at 15%. Italy trailed with 7%.

This compares favourably with, where conversion rates (the buyer:browser ratio) have been climbing steadily since the site’s launch last November. The big question for is, “Was all the effort that it took to get going pre-Christmas worth it?” Chairman Stefan Preston is unequivocal in his reply. “Absolutely. Ours is a growing business. And it’s a learning business. By getting going early we’ve learned about online buying habits and customer expectations. We’ll be so much better prepared next time round.

“We may not have come of age - you’d hardly expect that after two months, even in the Internet economy. But we certainly went from birth through baptism and into adolescence.”


Launched in October 1999, is New Zealand’s first Internet Supersite. It offers New Zealand customers a wide range of products and services including books, videos, software and stationery. Backed by leading retailers Pacific Retail Group, Whitcoulls and e-commerce company Advantage Group, is a business-to-consumer e-commerce site which combines online and offline retail expertise. Further background information is available at


For more information, please contact:
Stefan Preston,, +64 9 358 5050, 021 685 920
Allan Botica, Botica Conroy & Associates, 021 400 500,

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