25 Dec 2013

Online gift shopping keeps growing

9:02 am on 25 December 2013

Christmas shoppers on the lookout for toys and sports gear helped TradeMe reach its busiest 24-hour period ever.

The website said it hit peak for the year on 8 and 9 December as more than 700,000 people shopped online for Christmas presents.

Gift-wrapped Christmas presents.

Photo: PHOTO NZ

Spokesperson Paul Ford said the most popular searches were mountain bikes and trampolines, sports clothing and golf gear, and outdoor furniture.

Mr Ford said those searching for children's toys were after perennial favourites. Lego, Star Wars, Barbie and Thomas the Tank Engine topped the list, while remote-controlled cars and helicopters were also popular.

However the pre-Christmas period hasn't been so busy for New Zealand Post, which said the peak daily number of items being delivered in the lead-up to Christmas has been falling for the past five years

This year, the highest daily number of items delivered was 3.6 million letters and parcels on 9 December - half a million fewer than last year's Christmas peak and the most significant decline in recent years.

The daily peak volume in 2008 was 5 million items, falling to 4.1 million in 2012. Volumes are expected to keep falling as businesses encourage their customers to move to online statements and bills.

Gift appeal

The Salvation Army says it needed to collect more gifts than ever before this Christmas because of the increasing numbers of families in need.

The army, businesses and schools collecting gifts this year aimed to receive 40,000 presents - a 40% increase in requests for gifts from last year.

Community ministries secretary Pam Waugh said the amount of people using its budgeting services has grown by 54% in the past three years. When families commit to using Salvation Army budgeting services and paying off debts, the organisation helps them with gifts at Christmas.

Meanwhile a child-injury prevention service is warning that the small button-shaped lithium batteries found in musical greeting cards, Christmas earrings, remote controls and toys are highly corrosive and can cause serious long-term damage if ingested.

Safekids Aotearoa said in the past three years 61 children have been admitted to Starship children's hospital after swallowing the batteries or inserting them into their ears or noses.