Thursday, 25 October 2018 11:32

eBay still trumps Amazon in Australian market: report Featured

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eBay is more than holding its own, so far, against the concerted push from online retail giant Amazon to build its business in the Australian market, with a new report revealing that just 24% of Australians made a purchase on Amazon in the last six months compared to 63% purchasing goods and services on eBay over the same period.

But, while eBay was easily holding sway against Amazon now, the report from Australian-founded ecommerce platform BigCommerce also revealed that 57% of Australians did not think the presence of more global retailers would affect their decision to buy from local merchants.

In fact, according to the report, Australians currently spend less online, with 26% of their discretionary income on online purchases, 5 percentage points lower than the global average.

The report comes in the wake of Amazon opening its second Australian fulfilment centre in Sydney in August, in a move the online retail behemoth said would increase the availability of local jobs and help to continue growing product selection and the provision of faster shipping to more customers.

The new centre, located in Moorebank, South West Sydney, is 43,000 square metres in size – approximately the size of six football fields. Amazon opened its first fulfilment centre in Australia, located in Dandenong South in Victoria, in December last year.

BigCommerce also reports that:

  • Britons’ online spending nearly doubles that of Australians – In terms of online shopping, Australians on average cap online spending at A$670 per month, spending significantly less than shoppers in the UK (A$1305) and the US (A$1130).
  • A majority don’t want to share data – Over half of Australians surveyed (58% ) stated they would opt out of sharing data with retailers if given the option.

BigCommerce’s global research study — 2018 Omnichannel Buying Report surveyed 3000 digital consumers, including in Australia, found that one of every four dollars of monthly discretionary income in Australia is now spent online, but the relationship between online and offline channels is “far more nuanced”.

The report reveals that 48% of Australian consumer respondents visited a brand’s website before making a purchase in a physical retail store, and over a quarter (26%) will attempt to price match the product online.

According to BigCommerce, the study indicates Australian consumers have been slower to adopt Amazon than their global counterparts, with only a quarter of respondents (24%) having purchased from the marketplace in the past six months, compared to 80% of US and UK respondents – compared to the 63% buying on eBay.

BigCommerce says 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.

In addition to its report on the marketshare battle between Amazon and eBay — or what it describes as the “Amazon effect” — here’s what BigCommerce says about the key Australian findings:

  • Australians are a thrifty (yet tech savvy) bunch: Australians are more prudent shoppers than their global counterparts online, spending approximately 26% 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 A$670 per month, spending significantly less than shoppers in the UK ($1305) and the US ($1130). Australians do appreciate new ways of shopping, with 39% 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 US and UK. Just over half of Australians surveyed (58%) stated they would opt out of sharing data with retailers if given the option. This is significantly lower that the global average of 70%. Similar to the US and UK, Australians view product discounts and free shipping as the best ways to incentivise data sharing.
  • Australians shop across multiple channels: Australian consumers rely heavily on digital tools to aid their decision process, with nearly half (48%) of consumers having visited a brand’s website before making a purchase in store, and another 28% reading customer reviews about the brand or product before purchasing. Television also plays an influential role in deciding, with nearly a third (31%) of Australian respondents watching a commercial about a brand prior to purchasing in store (compared to 25% globally). In addition, 29% read customer reviews online and 27% 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 percent of Australian respondents do not think the presence of more global retailers will impact their decision to buy from local merchants.

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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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