Thursday, 20 October 2011 12:16

Australia a nation of online shoppers



Research from Nielsen provides insight on online and mobile shopping behaviour.


Nielsen's annual research into online shopping plus new research carried out by the company for PayPal reveals how commonplace online shopping is for Australians, and why mobile shopping isn't catching on as fast as it might.


15 million of Australia's 22 million population are active Internet users, clocking up an average of 22 online hours per month. As you may have noticed, there's been a marked shift to using mobile devices, with approximately half having used their mobiles to access the Internet by the end of 2010. That proportion is almost certainly higher by now, as Nielsen expects 50% of the online population to own smartphones by the end of 2011, and a total of 65% to own some an Internet-enabled phone.

Online shopping is unquestionably mainstream, with the firm's latest research showing 97% of active Internet users having made at least one purchase online, and 78% having purchased online during the first half of 2010.

However, the use of Internet-enabled mobiles for shopping is a minority activity, with only 34% of those users having purchased in the last six months. Of those, 68% expect to be able to use their phones for a range of different purchases, and 45% want to use their phones for offline transactions.

PayPal and credit cards are the top payment methods, with customers being most concerned about the cost (presumably a reflection of the way some merchants apply credit card surcharges) and security. While most Australians feel online payments are as or more secure than they were a year ago, they believe online transactions via a mobile device to be the least secure.

So the question is whether those concerns about mobile transaction security are warranted; and if not, what can the payments and retail industries do to communicate the real state of affairs? In the best academic tradition, it appears further research is needed.



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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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