A global study of online shoppers has found Australians shoppers spend one in every four dollars of discretionary income online. The results show merchants that don’t have an online store are missing out on sales.
The study by e-commerce platform BigCommerce surveyed 3,000 digital consumers to understand the role that online and offline channels play in a customers’ purchase journeys.
While Australian retailers had been fearful of the launch of Amazon down under, the study found only 24 per cent of those surveyed had bought a product from the Amazon marketplace in the past six months. This figure is well below their US and UK counterparts at 80 per cent. In comparison, 63 per cent of Aussie consumers had made a purchase on eBay in the same time period.
The research also found almost half of Australians (48 per cent) who made a purchase at a physical store would visit the brand’s website before buying. While 26 per cent will attempt to price match a product online.“In Australia, we’re seeing a huge shift in the retail industry. Consumers are calling for the barriers between online and in-store shopping to be broken down as they seek a smoother shopping experience across platforms,” said Jordan Sim, group product manager at BigCommerce.
“The Australian market is proving to be a unique beast compared to other markets, and retailers need to listen to how Australians are actually shopping today. Our hope is that these insights will provide retailers with the tools and knowledge they need to create shopping experiences that inspire customer loyalty and drive conversion.”
The results of the study emphasise that brands can no longer afford a single-channel retail experience and increasingly must make products available across multiple digital and offline channels where consumers are shopping.
Key Australian findings from the report include:
eBay still trumps Amazon
Despite the “Amazon Effect” taking hold of the ecommerce industry globally, the same cannot be said in Australia. The retail giant, which only officially launched in Australia last November, doesn’t have nearly the same influence regionally as other sales channels, with only 24 per cent of Australian respondents having made a purchase on Amazon in the last six months. eBay, on the other hand, is thriving in Australia. Sixty-three per cent of Australian respondents made a purchase on the marketplace in the last six months, only two per cent lower than the number of respondents (65 per cent) that made a purchase in a physical store.
Australians are a thrifty (yet tech savvy) bunch
Australians are more prudent shoppers than their global counterparts online, spending approximately 26 per cent of their discretionary income on online purchases – five percentage points lower than the global average. In terms of online shopping, Aussie respondents on average cap online spending at $670 AUD per month, spending significantly less than shoppers in the UK ($1305) and the US ($1130). Australians do appreciate new ways of shopping, with 39 per cent of those surveyed indicating that they shop on mobile — nearly as frequently as shopping via a desktop (41 per cent).
Data privacy remains a major concern – but not at the expense of convenience
While Australian consumers are aware retailers are collecting their personal data, they seem less bothered by the practice than consumers in the U.S. and UK. Just over half of Australians surveyed (58 per cent) stated they would opt out of sharing data with retailers if given the option. This is significantly lower that the global average of 70 per cent. Similar to the U.S. and UK, Australians view product discounts and free shipping as the best ways to incentivise data sharing.
Aussies shop across multiple channels
Australian consumers rely heavily on digital tools to aid their decision process, with nearly half (48 per cent) of consumers having visited a brand’s website before making a purchase in store, and another 28 per cent reading customer reviews about the brand or product before purchasing. Television also plays an influential role in the decision-making process, with nearly a third (31 per cent) of Australian respondents watching a commercial about a brand prior to purchasing in store (compared to 25 per cent globally). In addition, 29 per cent read customer reviews online and 27 per cent received an email promotion before making a purchase.
No fear of the great unknown
Contrary to popular belief, reports that Australian retailers have concerns on the arrival of global brands like Forever21 and Zara are overblown. Fifty-seven per cent of Australian respondents do not think the presence of more global retailers will impact their decision to buy from local merchants.