Online shopping reaches mainstream status

Australians spend an average of $285 online every four weeks

Online buying in Australia has reached a tipping point, according to research by Roy Morgan.

The research firm said online shopping reached mainstream status for the first time in the first quarter of this year, with Australians who don’t make purchases online in the minority.

Around $24.3 billion was spent online by Australians aged over 14 years in the 12 months to March 2013, according to Roy Mogan’s State of the Nation report. This was an 11.9 per cent increase on the year earlier.

Total online retail sales increased 3.4 per cent to $258.4 billion, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

Australians spend an average of $285 online every four weeks, with 23 per cent of online shoppers less likely to go to physical stores, compared to 10 per cent a decade ago.

Roy Morgan conducted the research by carrying out 50,000 interviews to determine how technology is impacting on consumer habits and attitudes.

“The Internet continues to transform Australians’ shopping habits: more people shop online; they spend more; they buy products across more categories; and they visit stores less often,” Michele Levine, chief executive officer, Roy Morgan Research said in a statement.

“But despite the significant growth, security and trust are still unresolved issues for online retailing. [A total of] 56 per cent of all Australians do not feel comfortable giving their credit card details online.

"Even among those who have bought online in an average three month period, nearly two thirds say they only buy from retailers they know and one fifth only buy from Australian online retailers, Levine said.

Levine added that smartphones have also added complexity.

“Smartphones may instead prove to be a way for traditional retailers to encourage tech-savvy consumers back into their stores,” she said.

“Imagine the shopping centre’s app that directs visitors to the store and the store’s app that lists what’s in stock and provides exclusive offers. This is coming – and soon.”

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