It really wasn’t all that long ago people would see my email address and ask “what’s that?”.How times have changed. According to the recently released State of the Nation Report from Roy Morgan Research, the first quarter of this year saw online shopping go mainstream in Australia.
Australians spent $24.3billion online in the 12 months to March 2013, a jump of nearly 12% the year prior. Meanwhile, total retail sales only rose 3.4%, showing people are doing more of their shopping online. 23% of online shoppers go to bricks and mortar stores less frequently now, compared to 10% in 2003.
Aussies are spending big online – $285 per four week period. The top categories are Travel, Entertainment & Leisure, Electronics, Fashion and Food & Beverages.
While it would appear Australians have fully embraced online shopping; trust is still an issue. Over half still do not feel comfortable handing over their credit card details online and nearly two thirds of online shoppers say they only buy from retailers they know. One fifth will only purchase from Australian online retailers.
I suspect the numbers of the latter have dropped rapidly (I don’t have any historical figures), spurred on by the strong Australian dollar combined with shoppers understanding just how expensive it can be to buy some products locally compared to overseas. Also tempting people will be how much international delivery has improved. I’ve had some instances where I’ve received goods from overseas faster than I get them within Australia.
While offline retailers are wailing and gnashing their teeth; local online retailers are starting to feel the bite of overseas bargain hunting as well. Aussies are starting to use services such as AliBaba as many Chinese merchants have dropped MOQs (Minimum Order Quantities) to very low levels; making it easier for a small group of people to band together to place an order for extremely cheap goods.