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Catch amouse to the shops
By Geoff ealmer
'Black Friday', the day after the Thanksgiving Day holiday, is the
traditionalstart of the Christmas shopping season in the United States.
Its name comes from the notion that many retailers make little or no
money in the first part of the year, but from that day until year's end,
they're firmly'in the black'.
But last year Black Friday took on a darker
tinge. Retail sales were down almost 3%
on 2ol2 and foot traffic for the year fell by
more than zoTo.lnstead of battling traffic
jams, queuing for car parks and waiting to be
served, many Americans did their shopping
online. On the Monday following Black Friday
now known as 'Cyber Monday' - online sales
reached a new daily record of US5r.74 billion,
and online sales for the 4-day weekend were
u? 34% on the previous year.
What's driving the change is not just internet
shopping per se - that's been around for
almost two decades - but the access to it.
With smartphones equating to a 'computer
in your pocket', it's never been easier or more
convenient. A survey ofAustralian phone
found that z5% used their phones to
check for competitive prices or read online reviews while actually
phyiically in retail stores. (And 4% of them went on to purchase items
from com petitors' websites.)
65T and dutg
There's a common misconception
There are bargains locally and internationally, and the high
New Zealand dollar makes overseas shopping especially attractive.
According to BNZ's Online Retail Sales Index,we spent $2.7 billion
online in the rz months to 3o September 2013, of which 6o% went
overseas. As Stephen Bridle, director of analysis firm Marketview
puts it, "We're a billion-dollar export market for international
ln its early days, online shopping was fraught wlth credit card
worries, currency hassles and hidden delivery charges, but the market
has matured rapidly. Secure payment systems mean that vendors
never get to see your credit card details, and a number of large
international sites offer the option of showing prices in NZ dollars.
Some even offer free international shipping.
All major retailers have their own websites, and many offer delivery
to your door. The lists that follow contain stores that exist purely
online or ones that feature services you might know about -they are
by no means comprehensive.
to import duty, some aren't. Most
electronics such as mobile phones, computers and cameras are
duty free, although there are odd exceptions. Ordinary radios
don't attract duty, but car radios do - at a rate of 5%. Jewellery
and cosmetics also attract 5% duty, while clothing and footwear
get ro% - exce ptf or baby clothing, which is duty free. For a quick
summary of items and rates, click the 'Customs Duty Rates' link at
www.cu sto ms.govt. nzlfeatu res/cha rges/feetypes.
Next comes CST. lf your import attracts less than 56o CST, it isn't
charged. But if GST comes to $6o or more, you're charged it plus an
lmport Entry Transaction Fee (IETF) of 5+5.89.
Note that the value of the goods you're importing
as including the cost
that all comes together (in
bought from a bricks-and-mortar store?
Obviously this only applies to New Zealand auction sites, and only if
you pay a fixed price. Once bidding begins it becomes an auction and
the CCA no longer applies - even if you're the only bidder. Still, it's
worth keeping in mind.
offreight and insurance.
Item (s) cost
Auctions are a form of online shopping in which most of us have
dabbled. But many businesses * small and large - sell items through
them too. Did you know that ifyou buy a new item from a trader (as
opposed to an individual) on Trade Me and pay a 'Buy Now' price for it,
you're covered by the Consumer Cuarantees Act (CCA), just as if you'd
Some items are subject
Here's an example of how
that imported goods worth
tha n $4oo don't attract CST or d uty - the real answer is that it
depends on what you're buying.
(r5%): SSS.8S Effective GST (r5%):
that the New Zealand Customs Service
that don't fluctuate as much
as the real ones do. lf you haven't paid in New Zealand dollars, the
You should also note
(Customs) uses fixed exchange rates
ofthe goods (plus shipping and insurance) will
at the exchange rate in force on the day the item reaches Customs.
The rates it uses are set for a z-week period and published a week
in advance, meaning your Customs rate may differ from the actual
Home and consumer
excha nge rate you pa id
Buy and sell cars
You'll find the rates at www.customs.govt.nzlnews/utilities/Pages/
Computers and consumer electronics
lf you don't fancy sitting down
has a simole online calculator
with a pen and paper, Customs
that combines all of the above at
Not surprisingly, computer equipment is well represented online. Here
are a few local favourites.
rne magazine for MAS Members
Taking the place of old-fashioned department stores, these sites feature a wide (and sometimes
massive) range of items, from jewellery to electronics, tools to fashion accessories. You just
have to check them out!
After hours spent searching to find just what
you want, you then discover that the vendor
concerned doesn't shio overseas. Grrrr!
Game over? Not quite...
With New Zealand Post's YouShop
you sim ply
enter a United States, United Kingdom or
European YouShop delivery address and
complete your transaction as usual. Pay
YouShop the international postage, and it
willforward the goods to you.
NZ$rz.5o per parcel, plus N2$4.75 per 5oo
- and it will even evaluate your parcel
to see if it can be repacked to reduce the
amount of postage you need to pay.
Mainly books and movies
A vast range in 4o categories
Way more than just a book store
Hong Kong based - mostly
electronics - free worldwide delivery
Parallel imported items
International postage is calculated
More than 33o,ooo products in stock
Another Hong Kong-based giant
Specialist stores cater for niche markets or focus on doing a few things really well. Again, the
range is vast, but here's a selection to show the sorts of things on offer.
Model numbers and product names
may vary between countries. Make sure
you're getting exactly what you expect.
When buying overseas, check that
electrical goods have compatible power
adapters and suitable wall plugs.
re a I ly getling a ba rgain ?
out local prices on pricespy.
co.nz and double-check our sidebar on
the store. What are its
warranty provisions and what's the
return process if goods arrive damaged
or fall apart in a month?
the goods. Some ofthe bigger
Grocery shopping online, delivered
to your door
a boon to the elderly
DVD and Blu-ray rentals by post
Everything for your car
5urf, snow and skating gear
ma rine-dea ls.co.nz
Fishing, diving and marine gear
for cats, dogs, fish, birds
sma rtma rine.co.nz
NZ$ prices and
free worldwide delivery
sites allow candid customer reviews.
These can be a useful guide
know the manufacturer.
Avoid impulse buying. You can get
some great deals, but there's also a lot
of iunk out there.
Hearing aid batteries. NZ$ prices
Glasses and contact lenses, including
Dailg deal sites
Don't forget 'daily deal' sites that offer limited deals for short periods of time. Many feature
deals on goods and services that are specific to your area. But tread carefully. Try to avoid impulse
buying and note that they're sometimes used to clear old stock and end-of-line items.