Once just a U.S. enterprise, Walmart has branched out to seemingly every time zone on the planet; they have been in China since 1996.
With their extensive reach and seemingly unlimited resources, you might imagine that Walmart populates almost every country on the planet.
But Is Walmart in New Zealand, that island nation with a population of about 5 million? Here’s what you need to know.
Is Walmart In New Zealand?
Walmart does not currently operate any stores in New Zealand. Walmart is operational in 24 different countries worldwide, but NZ is not one of them. The giant retail chain, the largest in the world, has not given any indication that it will be opening locations in New Zealand in the foreseeable future.
For more info, like why Walmart isn’t in New Zealand or is planning to come to New Zealand, where they could open stores if they did come, and where Kiwis can shop instead, continue reading below!
Why Isn’t Walmart In New Zealand?
To date, Walmart hasn’t made any official statements regarding why they haven’t opened stores in New Zealand.
But I have some theories…
It appears as though Walmart hasn’t come to New Zealand yet for a few reasons, beginning with the retail chain’s focus in Asia.
Walmart is particularly interested in India, now with one of the largest economies in the world and the second-largest population (behind only China).
Through its acquisition, Flipkart, Walmart recently launched an e-commerce website and wholesale warehouse outfit. We can expect to see them grow that investment in the future.
Rather than focusing on lots of frantic store-building, the company has also turned their attentions toward automation and improving its supply chain.
Walmart is also continuing to diversify its services, looking to build a financial branch of the company, which would fulfill financial/banking-type needs for its customer base.
With only five million people in New Zealand, Walmart likely does not look at the country as one in which they “need” to have stores.
There is also the matter of geography.
New Zealand, if not totally isolated, is still unattached to any major land mass, creating a less-than-ideal supply chain situation.
A commenter on Quora also pointed out that New Zealanders tend to be more “up-market” shoppers and prefer to spend more for better quality.
This directly contrasts with Walmart’s discount business model, where even good quality items may be perceived as lesser, based on the low pricing.
If Walmart wanted to enter the New Zealanders’ market, they might buy majority stakeholder shares of an existing chain, as they have done in the UK and Japan.
But that same Quora commenter mentioned that none of the existing local competition would have anything to gain by selling to Walmart.
What Are Good Potential Locations For Walmart In New Zealand?
Walmart would surely start with the country’s most populous city, Auckland if they came to New Zealand.
A bustling urban center of nearly 1.5 million, if they could find the right parcel of land – or if they chose to scale down and focus on Neighborhood Market-type stores – Auckland would be ideal.
Another great choice would be Wellington, the capital city. A moderately-sized city of about 215,000, it has a young and diverse population.
They might, perhaps, be more open to trying new retail trends than some of their older counterparts.
What Are Alternatives To Walmart In New Zealand?
Unfortunately, not even the closest country to New Zealand, Australia, has any Walmart stores to visit.
Kiwis would have to go far to get the Walmart experience – China or Japan.
However, that doesn’t mean New Zealanders are without options.
First and foremost, there is The Warehouse retail chain, with its very telling brand name.
Much like Walmart, the store sells apparel, home goods, drug store items, games and much more, plus household pantry items and pet products.
Expanded Warehouse Extra hypermarkets offer an even closer experience to Walmart shopping.
An option that New Zealanders will soon have: Costco!
The big membership-style warehouse-style club is expected to come to Auckland, New Zealand in 2022.
Allegedly, it will cost over $100 million to build, will feature three floors and even have a gas station attached.
Walmart hasn’t yet opened any stores in New Zealand, what with its current focus on the exploding Asian economies and newer high-tech/financial projects.
But while it doesn’t appear that Walmart will be coming to New Zealand soon, the company may keep its eye on the new Costco opening in 2022.
Should Costco perform well, might not Walmart’s competitive nature kick in?