Monday, 17 April 2017 23:02

Aussies take to online shopping with gusto as Amazon prepares to launch Featured

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Aussies take to online shopping with gusto as Amazon prepares to launch Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The conditions couldn’t be riper for the much-vaunted launch of ecommerce giant Amazon in the Australian market, according to new research which shows online shopping in Australia exploding, with sales rocketing upwards.

The latest research report on the Australian online shopping market by Roy Morgan reveals that in any given four-week period last year, just over 8.7 million Australians aged 14+ (44.2%) bought one or more products via the Internet.

The 2016 online shopping numbers equate to more than 1.7 million additional shoppers per four weeks since 2013, when nearly seven million Aussies (36.4%) shopped online on average four weeks.

In fact, according to Roy Morgan, online shopping has risen for every product category except baby products — which have remained stable — between 2013 and 2016, which ”shines a spotlight on the country’s ongoing love affair with buying things over the Internet”.

“As the popularity of online shopping continues to go gangbusters across Australia, and online sales in almost all retail categories track steadily upwards, the conditions couldn’t be riper for US ecommerce giant Amazon’s imminent Australian launch,” says Norman Morris, industry communications director, Roy Morgan Research.

“The data is unequivocal: Australians can’t get enough of shopping online. In any given four-week period, more and more of us are purchasing products as diverse as clothing, food, reading matter, health and beauty products, furniture, and electronics via the Internet,” Morris says.

According to Morris, just over 540,000 Aussies currently make a purchase on Amazon in an average four weeks, and he says this will “almost certainly rise once the US ecommerce colossus launches its Australian operations and rolls out its local offerings”.

“Presently, Australian shoppers have access to a limited range of product categories on Amazon compared with the vast selection available to US customers, but local distribution centres will allow for much greater variety and shopping potential. Add to this the fact that 21.4% of Aussies say they ‘only buy from Australian online stores’, and Amazon’s antipodean future sure looks promising.

“Then there’s the prospect of the company launching its quick-turnaround grocery delivery service AmazonFresh. As we recently reported, Australian supermarkets have not yet conquered the online space, but AmazonFresh may succeed where others have not.  

 “Understanding the technology-specific attitudes and behaviours characterising each Technology Adoption Segment is a great way for online retailers to target their best prospects, approach their marketing decisions more strategically and ensure they’re match-ready when Amazon arrives in Australia.”

While Roy Morgan reports that online shopping has risen for every product category except baby products, the research shows that between 2013 and 2016, food and beverages saw a proportional growth of 67% (from almost 1.3 million to just over 2.1 million buyers per four weeks), health and beauty purchasers increased by 51%, fashion shoppers surged by 35% and people buying home and garden products rose by 64%.

But, according to Roy Morgan, while online shopping is gaining ever-increasing momentum with Australian consumers from all walks of life, those most likely to make purchases this way still tend to be from the more “technologically savvy end of the spectrum”.

Morris says that viewing these consumers through the lens of Roy Morgan’s Technology Adoption Segments reveals that more than half of all online shoppers (51.9%) fall under the umbrella of either technology early adopters or professional technology mainstream, the two most digitally inclined segments of the population.

“As their name suggests, Technology Early Adopters are always the first to purchase and use new technologies, and tend to be well educated and high-earning. Whereas they comprise nearly 20% of the overall Australian population, they account for a fraction over 30% of all people who buy something online in an average four weeks.

“Similarly, the ambitious, early-adopting Professional Technology Mainstream comprise just over 17% of the population and almost 22% of all online shoppers. Meanwhile, the less switched-on Technology Traditionalists and Technophobes are under-represented among Australia’s online shoppers,” Morris says.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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