Australian retailers are maintaining their share of the online shopping pie as the second wave of growth sweeps the country.
A study of online retail in Australia from 2007-13, part of the World Internet Project (WIP), reveals a consistent pattern of large increases in the number of online purchases made by Australian consumers, reaching an average expenditure of $2616 a year.
Swinburne University of Technology's Dr Scott Ewing said the latest survey confirmed online shopping grew strongly between 2011 to 2013 after an apparent plateau between 2009 and 2011.
“The good news for Australian businesses is that local retailers are maintaining their share of this growth, as Australian consumers maintain their strong preference for shopping with domestically-based websites,” he said.
“Three out of ten Australians now shop online every week, or more often, compared with two in ten New Zealanders and one in ten Swiss.”
There has also been a continued major upsurge in the number of Aussies using the internet for financial transactions.
People making travel bookings online grew from 49 per cent in 2007 to 73 per cent in 2013, those paying bills grew from 43 per cent to 72 per cent and those purchasing event tickets from 36 per cent to 65 per cent.
The mean value of monthly online purchases by Australians grew by 5.8 per cent to $218 from 2011-13, while the actual number of internet purchases grew by 46.2 per cent.
The WIP is conducted in 30 countries round the world to compare internet use and behaviour.
In Australia it consists of an annual survey of 1000 people aged 18 or older and has been running since 2007.
Ewing said five Australians in every six were now seeking information about intended purchases online before they buy, and this underlined the importance of having an internet sales presence.
“At the same time more than a quarter of the population is buying something online at least once a week,” he said.
“And 69 per cent look up items online before buying at the store.”
Travel is an area where the internet plays a big role with 74 per cent of Australians making an online booking at least once a month, while 79 per cent now pay their bills online.
However one area of online activity that continues to languish is buying stocks and shares – only 8 per cent of people use the internet regularly.
Resistance to buying digital content online is decreasing, with consumers indicating they are more prepared to buy music or newspapers online: a slim majority are now prepared to download music but 61 per cent are still opposed to online newspapers.