Friday, 29 June 2018 13:30

Aussies take to online shopping with gusto: report

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The late adopters of the technology community are leading the way as the highest growing demographic for online shopping, as Australians embrace the benefits of an online marketplace, according to a newly published research report.

With online shopping growing strongly as key industries and companies look to take advantage of 9.46 million Australians shopping online — more than half a million more than 12 months prior — Aussies are more and more getting into the online market.

According to Roy Morgan, so-called Technology Traditionalists — those who will only try a new technology after it has become mainstream — recorded a growth of 7ppts, while Technophobes grew by 7.1ppts, the highest of all segments. Comparatively, the Technology Early Adopters saw a growth of only 3.9ppts, and Digital Life (mostly tech-savvy students and young part-time workers) just 4ppts.

And Roy Morgan says the growth in online shopping among late technological adopters means more for some industries than others.

The industries in which technophobes are most prominent include Pet Products, of which they comprised 9.8% of the online market, Health & Beauty (9.6%), Automotive (9.5%), Fashion (9.2%) and Home & Garden (9.1%).

And, the research shows that for Technology Traditionalists, they are most prominent in Pet Products (27.1%), Automotive (25.1%), Baby Products (25.0%), Home & Garden (22.0%) and Health & Beauty (21.3%).

Roy Morgan also says that Pet Products, Health & Beauty, and Fashion were some of the strongest online growth industries reported between March 2015 and March 2018, and each of those industries has a notable proportion of Technology Traditionalists or Technophobes.

Overall, the new research report reveals that the way Australians buy goods and services has changed and adapted over the years, from the traditional bricks-and-mortar and catalogue purchases, to the "TV Special" over-the-phone deals and, most recently, online stores and auction houses.

“While physical stores are still the prevailing option for some industries, such as grocery, and there are clear signs that people are not going to stop visiting shops, Australians are embracing the benefits of an online marketplace,” the report says.

According to Roy Morgan, the strongest, increased demand for online shopping is coming from the “less affluent demographics”, or those classified as light spenders, and those belonging to the Roy Morgan Value Segments - “Fairer Deal” (9.5ppts increase) and “Something Better” (15ppts increase) – with all recording higher growth rates of Internet shopping between March 2015 and March 2018 than their wealthier counterparts.

“Online shopping has been revolutionising the way we shop for the last two decades, and more and more Australians have begun embracing the convenience, range, ease and value that come with it. As technology becomes more readily available and easy to use, and as industry giants such as Amazon begin catering to the local Australian market, it’s predicted that an even greater share of the market will find itself being traded online,” said Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine.

“This trend in the growth of online shopping demographics is very significant. Those demographics which have less disposable income, those who consider themselves light spenders and those who shy from new technology are the strongest growing segments.

“This may be surprising for some; wouldn’t those with more money to spend be flocking to online shopping? The truth of the matter is, they already have. 80.1% of people in the highest income quintile purchased at least one product online in an average three months, as well as 83% of technology early adopters. Historically, they’ve been the ones at the front of the online shopping movement, with the technology and dollars to take advantage of being able to buy just about anything with a few clicks.

“Now, however, the waters have been tested, the process refined, and the warehouses are starting to become local. Previous barriers to entry for lower income demographics have been broken down as the cost of technology has become reasonable and shipping, mostly from America or parts of Asia, has fallen as large retail giants move in on the Australian market. As well as this, devices with intrinsic internet usage and websites with comprehensive user interfaces allow the technophobes of the market an easier passage into online shopping.”

Levine says the changes are being seen in the growth of markets where these types of customers are prevalent. “Health & Beauty has grown by 34.4% and Pet Products by 55.1%, no doubt fuelled in part by increased online participation by the Technology Traditionalists and Technophobes.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year 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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