Kiwis are expected to buy record numbers of books online this Christmas and are rapidly catching up with international shopping trends according to new data.
Javier Rosales, commercial director for Book Depository says online book purchases from New Zealand, the second largest country out of the 160 it delivers to, traditionally peaks in November as consumers increasingly take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions.
Black Friday which this year falls on November 23, originally marked the traditional start of Christmas shopping at bricks & mortar retailers in the US. Cyber Monday (November 26) is a marketing term coined in 2005 to drive online sales on the following Monday.
“November is our biggest month for online shopping - about 55% higher than the average month but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now the single biggest shopping days for Kiwis - around three times higher than a normal Friday or Monday.
While these shopping days were originally designed around the timing of the US Thanksgiving holiday, their popularity has expanded into New Zealand and sales last year on these two days were 12% higher than the previous year,” he says.
Rosales says due to the volume of online purchases from this country, Book Depository has opened the start of the promotion to match the New Zealand time zone.
“While one of the perceptual barriers New Zealanders have had to buying from international retailers at this time of year may have been concerns around delivery timing, the Christmas shopping cut off date this year for Book Depository orders to New Zealand will be December 5 which means purchases made on these sale dates will arrive on time”.
Nielsen data shows books as one of the more popular categories purchased online in New Zealand; ranked fifth for purchases made in the last 12 months. However, with Christmas fast approaching, the popularity of books purchased online as gifts tend to gain momentum, ahead of toys and slightly behind clothing.
Rosales expects New Zealanders to order a record number of books from them this season – an increase of over 20% from the previous year, which he puts down to Book Depository’s free delivery promise on 19 million books.
“One of the reasons we think NZ is such big customer group for us is that historically the cost of shipping books here has in most cases exceeded the cost of the book itself.
“Many hardback books are heavy compared to some other products which are shipped online which makes them expensive to ship long distances;
“Similarly, the relatively small size of the population meant the selection of titles available in the country was limited - and so a model which offers millions of titles with free delivery has a lot of appeal to Kiwis in particular.”
Rosales says sales data from the start of November shows the trending books which have just launched for Christmas.
“For Kiwi kids J.K. Rowling’s The Crimes of Grindelwald launches this month and with more than 10,000 copies sold of Fantastic Beasts the initial pre-orders are showing this as one of the most popular books for children. Similarly the new Wimpy Kid: Meltdown by Jeff Kinney, and for the younger ones - back in stock is The Wonky Donkey by local author Craig Smith.
“For young adults, web traffic data is showing more than 700,000 page views for Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas and Six of Crows from the author of the Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.”
In adult fiction, Rosales notes that the new Game of Thrones book Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin comes out this month. Also selling well is Bridge of Clay from the Australian author of The Book Thief, 20 years in the making and 11 years since The Book Thief but more than 10,000 books have sold already.
“For foodies, we are picking Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi which contains over 130 new recipes from one of our biggest selling chefs, already this has sold more than 45,000 copies. And a surprising entry in our top pre-orders The Noma Guide to Fermentation by Rene Redzepi with hundreds of people wanting a copy before it was launched,” he says.