Buying and Selling

flag New Zealand New Zealand: Buying and Selling

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | E-commerce | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party to the International Coffee Agreement
International Economic Cooperation
New Zealand has signed a free trade agreement (CEPA) with Hong Kong.
Non Tariff Barriers
Import licenses are no longer required to import goods into New Zealand. The country does not impose any import restrictions or barriers to imports for purely trade-related reasons. Although, there are strict health, content, safety and origin-labeling rules, and stringent restrictions relating to live animal and plant health requirements.

Some goods are prohibited from importation. For more information you can log on the customs website

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
All commercial imports into New Zealand are subject to duties, GST and other potential charges. New Zealand applies a Customs duty of 5% on average. The customs duties with value-added tax are calculated on the FOB value or on specific duties. These are not excessively high and they give an average level of 15%. Higher duties, however, are levied on textiles, clothing, shoes, motor cars and pneumatics imports. No duty is imposed on imported products with no local equivalent in New Zealand. Some imports are cheap and are subject to a special duty for the protection of the local production. New Zealand applies preferential tariffs to imports coming from Australia (zero tariffs), Canada, UK, and other developing countries that it has trade agreements with.
For more details you can log on the customs website.

Customs Classification
New Zealand has fully adopted the harmonised system of customs classification.
Import Procedures
There are few documentation requirements for importing and exporting goods. The New Zealand Customs Service website outlines minimal requirements. Import declarations must be made electronically by the importer or a Customs House Broker acting for the importer.
All commercial goods brought into the country must have a Customs Entry Form or Informal Clearance Document (ICD) submitted. These documents must be cleared 20 days before arrival and must be submitted by a qualified Customs broker or by a qualified importer. They must include how the goods will be transported (with freight contracts: Airway bill or Bill of lading) and all invoices or documents related to the import. The submission must include a complete description of the goods, the currency of reference, the contact details of the seller and the buyer, the name of the vessel or the flight number of the plane used.
Import procedures are described on the website of the New Zealand Customs Service.
Generic import clearance procedures are available on the Website of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority.
Importing Samples
Goods that qualify as samples are eligible for duty-free entry. However, an import entry clearance must still be completed before arrival into the country. For more information, click here.
For Further Information
NZ Customs

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
In New Zealand, the GDP per capita is USD 47,500 in 2021 (IMF) and economic growth remains strong, fuelled by solid population growth, private consumption and booming tourism. From 2019 to 2020, household incomes have grown by 3.6% and household expenditure has increased by 7% since 2016 (Stats NZ, latest data available). Income inequalities are quite high for a developed country: the income of the highest-earning 10% is 4.3 times higher than the lowest 10% of the population (OECD, latest data available). With rising housing costs, some vulnerable households can only afford to purchase vital commodities. Nevertheless, New Zealand purchasing power is quite high and most New Zealanders are confident regarding financial matters. New Zealand consumers are relatively well-off. While they are not particularly interested in high-end purchases, they have diverse interests and tastes. They value home comfort and are interested in innovative technology and fashion from Europe and the U.S. DIY (Do It Yourself) projects and outdoor products are also an area of growth. According to a National Consumer Protection survey, New Zealand consumers are generally confident and trusting when making purchases. According to a research by Nielsen, 73% of consumers are looking for special offers. Even if New Zealand consumers are increasingly aware of health concerns, the fast-food sector is still an interesting market. The rapid growth of online services provides a new demand for e-marketers. New Zealanders are educated, technology savvy and willing to spend time and money through online shopping. For example, 10% of Kiwis regularly access their grocery retail websites.
Consumer Behaviour
New Zealand is a multi-ethnic country, with people coming from Europe (70.2%), Asia (15.7%) and Oceania (8.3%), as well as natives Maori (16.7%) (Stats NZ's latest census). In 2019, 86.6% of citizens in New Zealand lived in cities (World Bank, latest data available). 52% of New Zealanders prefer to buy products made in New Zealand as often as possible (Nielsen Survey).
Recently, purchases in the food and beverages segment have increased consequently, mainly driven by tourism. Customer service is an important element of sales. The quality of the service will sometimes depend on the speed at which an item can be delivered.
There are many similarities between European countries and the New Zealand market when it comes to lifestyles and purchasing behaviour. New Zealanders, or Kiwis as they are colloquially known, are educated and tend to be relatively well-off. Kiwis like to shop, have a passion for sports and have quite an active culture. In its Active NZ 2019 survey, Sport NZ reported that 72% of adults in the country practised sports weekly. This indicates that Kiwis are concerned with healthy lifestyles.
They are also likely to make healthy food purchases. As consumers, New Zealanders are concerned about convenience, time management and nutrition. E-commerce is well developed in New Zealand: the market represented about 4 billion USD in 2019 (J.P. Morgan, latest data available), with 50% of New Zealanders shopping online (2020 New Zealand eCommerce Review). Travel is the lead purchase, followed by clothing, entertainment and fast food. About one-third of the purchases are made overseas (mainly from Australia, China and the United States).
Consumers Associations
Main Advertising Agencies
Advertising agencies are listed on the Communication Agencies Association web site.

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
An import company will use the services of an agent, a distributor-importer, or will sell directly its production or services. Using agents enables to sell a huge variety of products and to take the customer's needs into consideration. Sales are carried out through wholesalers and retailers. The concept of direct purchase is well established in New Zealand. Agents and importers/distributors networks are known for their technique, service, their after-sale service and other useful services for the manufacturer.
A large number of foreign companies' subsidiaries directly import from their parent company and then distribute their products, or complete their local production.
Franchising is a recent concept experiencing a growing success in New Zealand.

The total retail sales trend has been flat since 2007. Half of the 24 retail industries had modest sales movements, increasing or decreasing by no more than NZD 4 million. Core retailing (which excludes the four vehicle-related industries) fell 0.2 percent (NZD 8 million).
Leading the decrease in July's 2008 sales were motor vehicle retailing, down 5.3 percent (NZD 32 million) and supermarket and grocery stores, down 2.0 percent (NZD 24 million).

Industries that had the largest sales increases were clothing and softgoods retailing, up 9.0 percent (NZD18 million), and department stores, up 5.9 percent (NZD18 million).

Market share
In 2021, New Zealand has the eighth highest prices for tradable commodities in the OECD. The New Zealand-owned supermarket chain Foodstuffs has about 53% market share (Canstar Blue, 2020). Woolworths, its main competitor, operates under the brand name Countdown (32.4% market share - Canstar Blue, 2020). Together, Foodstuffs and Woolworths hold a duopoly over the food and beverage market with hundreds of stores across New Zealand. Sales made by supermarkets have shown stable growth over the last few years but the number of convenience stores is increasing, with a constantly growing volume of sales. New Zealand customers have a preference for shopping malls, but independent and specialised stores have been able to adapt and are successfully targeting high revenue customers. Gourmet supermarkets have a growing customer appeal. Supermarkets such as Farro and Jones the Grocer are all Auckland-based retailers that appeal to the high-end consumer who enjoys artisanal and quality-assured products.
Retail Sector Organisations
New Zealand Retailers Association
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
New Zealand Chambers of Commerce

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Internet access
As of 2018, there were nearly 4.3 million internet users in New Zealand, making the internet penetration rate in the country 89%. In 2017, the monthly average of residential broadband connections in New Zealand used around 170 gigabytes, more than double the rate of 2016. The New Zealand Government is funding two broadband expansion initiatives, with the aim of providing fibre to the homes of 80% of the population and bringing broadband to 97.8% of the population by 2019. New Zealand is currently going through a shift from fixed to mobile internet connection. According to Stats NZ, there were 3.8 million mobile phones with active internet connections in June 2017 in the country, which represented an increase of 11% compared to the same period in 2016. Meanwhile, the number of home broadband connections had decreased 3% in the same period. New Zealand's fixed-broadband is ranked 17th fastest in the world, while their mobile internet connection is ranked 14th fastest.
E-commerce market
New Zealanders are increasingly connected, a trend which can also be observed when it comes to shopping, with two-thirds of Kiwis shopping online in 2017. That rate has been growing and it is expected to hit 83% by 2026. In 2017, e-commerce sales reached US$ 4.2 billion, up from US$ 3.9 billion a year earlier, which indicates an increase of 10%. According to BNZ, New Zealand's annual retail spend is US$ 49 billion, online shopping making up 7.6% of total retail sales. One of the reasons that e-commerce is growing is due to the fact that online shoppers believe it saves them time and that it is more convenient. Most online shoppers (57%) live in metropolitan areas and are aged between 30 and 49 (36%). The way people are using the internet to purchase items is changing, with three-in-five New Zealanders using their smartphones while in-store to research an item before buying. On the other hand, four-in-five people look at items online but ultimately buy in-store. Even though computers and laptops are the most popular devices when it comes to shopping online, smartphones and tablets are increasingly popular when buying over the internet, with 21% of online shoppers completing purchases on a mobile device in 2017. Credit card is the preferred method of payment in the country, with 75% of all online purchases being made using one.The most popular items purchased online are travel tickets and accommodations, clothing and event tickets - especially show and movie tickets. Among the top ten most popular products, many of them include non-physical items such as the previously mentioned tickets and bookings, but also music, movies, e-game downloads, computer software and food delivery. Some of the most popular e-commerce websites in the country include,,,, as well as global giants like Amazon, Alibaba, and Ebay.

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
99.5% of goods transportation in volume uses sea freight. These represent 83% of exports and 75% of imports.
The port of Auckland
The port of Tauranga
The port of Napier
Port Nelson
Auckland Airport
Hamilton Airport
Wellington Airport
Christchurch Airport
Queenstown Airport
Dunedin Airport
Sea Transport Organisations
Maritime New Zealand
Air Transport Organisations
Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand
Road Transport Organisations
Land Transport New Zealand
Rail Transport Organisations
Land Transport New Zealand

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
New Zealand's economy was built upon on a narrow range of primary products, such as wool, meat and dairy products. The economy has traditionally been based on a foundation of exports from its very efficient agricultural system. New Zealand is one of the largest global exporters of dairy products in the world. The country also exports a large volume of beef, lamb, wool, produce and wine. Agriculture in general and the dairy sector in particular have enjoyed many new trade opportunities in the past 20 years. The services sector makes up 69% of the GDP, this includes financial services, real estate and tourism.

The country has substantial hydroelectric power, which contributes 55% of the country's electricity. New Zealand also has sizable reserves of natural gas. Leading manufacturing sectors are food processing, metal fabrication, and wood and paper products. Some manufacturing industries, many of which had only been established in a climate of import substitution with high tariffs and subsidies, such as car assembly, have completely disappeared, and manufacturing's importance in the economy is in a general decline.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Finda - New Zealand's business directory, listings and reviews
Finda - Businesses in New Zealand.
Industry Search - Australia and New-Zealand database
New Zealand Yellow Pages - Business directory in New Zealand.
NZ Search - Directory of the New Zealand web
NZPages - Website directory of New Zealand
NZSB - New Zealand's small business directory
Te Awamutu Local Directory - Directory of various businesses
Zipleaf - Business directory for several countries in the world

To search directories by industry in New Zealand, check out our service Business Directories.

Professional Associations by Sector
31 professional associations listed for New Zealand.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Auckland Chamber of commerce
General Professional Associations
The Employers' and Manufacturers' Association

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Latest Update: May 2024