The E-Commerce Logistics Race: Australia vs New Zealand: Which Country Performed Better in Q1 2021?

Jul 22, 2021

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Last week, we looked into the e-commerce logistics performance of two North American giants, the US and Canada, to see how they matched up to each other.

Today, we are back with another edition of our E-Commerce Logistics Race. This time, we will be heading down to Oceania to look into Australia and New Zealand. 

After spending $50.46 billion online last year, Australia’s 57% year-on-year e-commerce growth in 2020 has not yet slowed down as the country continues to see 5 million households shopping online every month in Q1 2021. New Zealand has also seen $1.47 billion in online spending in Q1 2021, up 27% on Q1 2020, showing the continued accelerated growth of e-commerce on the island country. 

Find out how these two countries compared in terms of: 

  • Q1 2021 Transit Times

  • Peak Season Transit Times

  • Usage of Collection Points

When it comes to delivery times and the usage of collection points, which country do you think performed better?

New Zealand had faster delivery than Australia in Q1 2021 

New Zealand’s average transit time to first attempt was 1.9 days, while Australia’s one stood at 2.7 days early this year. The reason for New Zealand’s shorter transit times is likely due to their better preparedness in dealing with the short lockdowns in Auckland in Q1. 

When lockdown first began in March 2020, New Zealand Post, swamped by the influx of parcel volume, were taking 7-10 days to deliver parcels — a significant gap from its 97% next-day delivery rates that the courier prided itself upon. ​​

However, New Zealand Post improved their planning for capacity, parcel processing, and communication with retailers in order to better manage surges in parcel volumes thereafter, likely contributing to their preparedness and faster delivery times in Q1 2021. 

While Australia had slower deliveries compared to New Zealand, its transit time had improved compared to its 2020 H2 average of 3.6 days due to an improvement in the COVID-19 situation. However, their long transit time compared to Q1 2020 is due to a resurgence of the virus that sent parts of Australia, like Victoria and Western Australia, into lockdown early this year.  

New Zealand had a 14.08% increase in transit time during peak season 2020 while Australia saw a 4.3% increase

But this does not necessarily mean that Australia handled the peak season better. The 14% increase in transit time was just an increase from 2.3 to 2.6 days in New Zealand, while in Australia it was an increase from 2.8 to 3.0 days during the peak season. 

Indeed, Australia had a 1.67x increase in parcel volume during peak season in 2020 amounting to 52 million parcels being delivered by Australia Post, leading to severe delays during this period.

However, Australia’s transit time was already high due to COVID-19’s significant impact on the country’s delivery speed over the course of 2020. Transit time in Australia surged during the first and second waves of COVID-19, peaking at 3.5 days from August to September.

Hence, with delivery times significantly affected throughout 2020, this explains the smaller rise in transit time for Australia as compared to New Zealand during the year-end holiday shopping season.  

As for New Zealand, the country saw record-breaking Christmas delivery numbers with couriers delivering two million parcels a week amid the country’s online shopping frenzy, explaining the rise in transit time during peak period 2020.

(Note: Peak season refers to the holiday shopping season consisting of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas.) 

More Australian shoppers used collection points compared to New Zealand shoppers Q1 2021

11.9% of Australian shoppers used collection points, higher than the 7.3% of Kiwi shoppers who used them early this year. 

The higher uptake in Australia is likely due to the trend of collection points carrying over from 2020. According to a report by Australia Post, 49% of Australian consumers saw collection points as increasingly crucial as a delivery option, with a reported 47% year-on-year growth in collection point deliveries in 2020. 

Indeed, in Australia Post’s E-Commerce Industry Report, it was found that parcel lockers and collection points had a 12.4% and 26.7% year-on-year growth in 2020 as compared to the year before.

This is in contrast to New Zealand which saw 7.3% of its shoppers using collection points, a trend that seems to not have caught on that much. 

The road ahead

With a resurgence of the virus appearing in both countries in the first half of 2021, coupled with both countries’ vaccination efforts from February this year, it is uncertain how e-commerce logistics will be impacted. What do you think delivery times and collection points usage would look like in the two countries?

Keep a look out for next week’s edition of the e-commerce logistics race where we will be taking a closer look into Southeast Asia!

For more exclusive reports, insights, and interviews on the latest updates in e-commerce and logistics, follow us on LinkedIn or join our community as a member.

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