Matt Bullock, Founder and CEO, EWAY
Figures from a report commissioned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority show that online retail here is growing fast – and not just for the big guys.
While growth for the likes of Amazon and eBay is beginning to plateau, the research has shown that other businesses are increasing engagement with consumers via the internet. In fact, almost 60% of Australian small to medium enterprises have taken orders online from consumers.
Convenience and price are the main reasons Australians shop online, but we are seeing other significant factors contributing to the growth of internet retailing down under.
One of those is geography. We live in a vast country and the web is making it much easier for Australians to shop without travelling great distances, saving themselves even more bucks.
Australians living in remote locations do more online shopping than those living anywhere else – 70% of internet users in remote or very remote areas had purchased goods or services online in the six months prior to being surveyed.
The other thing driving growth in the sector is the lowering of barriers to entry for smaller online retailers. The advent of payments technology has brought the cost of selling online down rapidly, and so the number of SME merchants has shot up at a similar rate. That’s good news for the domestic economy too, with the majority of online shoppers patriotically continuing to buy from Australian websites.
While items such as eBooks, MP3s, videos, travel goods, tickets and accommodation are the most popular items bought online there’s been real growth in big ticket items such as vehicles too, and Australians with higher incomes – $150,000 or more per annum – are more likely to shop online than anyone else (86%).
Social commerce is one area of internet retailing that has still to really take off. However, what we are seeing more and more in Australia is that it’s the key to helping businesses, especially small ones, network with their target audiences. So, watch this space, that’s where the next big leap forward in ecommerce could come from.