Roy Morgan: Over 50 Percent of Australians Shop Online

Roy Morgan Research has released its State of the Nation report, which aims to identify social trends within a survey group some 50,000 strong over a period of 10 years. This particular update includes a special supplement that focuses specifically on internet shopping.

The report states that internet shopping has finally “reached mainstream status” in the beginning of 2013, as the majority of people are shown to have utilised this burgeoning retail channel.

“For the first time, Australians who don’t buy something online in an average three month period are in the minority,” the report says.

Key Highlights of the Study:

  • Australians spent $24.3 billion online in the 12 months to March 2013, a yearly increase of 11.9% – total retail sales rose just 3.4% for the same period.
  • The average online shopper spends $285 per four week period. Top categories purchased are: Travel, Entertainment & Leisure, Electronics, Fashion and Food & Beverages respectively.
  • Online shoppers are going into stores less often: 23% of online shoppers go to stores less often now, compared to 10% in 2003.

Michele Levin, CEO of Roy Morgan Research believes the research reflects an ongoing shift in Australian consumer behaviour, and that retailers should look to mobile devices for ways to encourage purchasing.

“Within just a few years, smartphones have added another layer of complexity to the scene. While over half of Australians now own a smartphone, less than seven percent of them bought online using the phone in the last four weeks—nevertheless, this is double the proportion a year ago,” Levin says. “Smartphones may instead prove to be a way for traditional retailers to encourage tech-savvy consumers back into their stores. 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.”

Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) was at the report launch event and says he was staggered by some of the figures within Roy Morgan’s State of the Nation.

“I think this certainly proves that online retail has arrived and is here to stay,” Zimmerman says. “Some people see stores closing in the streets of Paddington or South Yarra and they talk about ‘the death of retail’, but I think this shows that the situation is much more complicated than that.

“Any retailers that want to ensure a sustainable future for their business can’t afford to ignore the online channel anymore – it’s simply not an option.”

Nick Molnar, Managing Director at Ice Online, says that these results may indicate that online retail is the channel that ‘savvy shoppers’ prefer, due to the ability to find accurate information and competitive prices.

“It is no surprise that online shopping has ‘now reached mainstream status’ in Australia. The online space is becoming increasingly dynamic, product offerings are now more extensive and it safe to transact, providing Australians with easy access to everyday luxuries. In a time where disposable income and recreation time is limited, consumers are recognising online shopping as the smarter and more obvious choice,” Molnar says.

As CEO of the National Online Retailers Association (NORA), Paul Greenberg is particularly happy with these statistics, indicating that the retailers his organisation advocates have a sunny future ahead.

“It’s good news not only for our members, but also the broader Australian retailing sector, which we believe is readying itself for a technology and customer-centric led renaissance,” Greenberg says.

“We are not surprised by the strong growth and shift towards mobile commerce. At NORA we’ve highlighted m-commerce as a game changer for the retailing sector some time back. Fuelled by the rapid adoption of smartphones and consumers’ desire for convenience and shopping choice. Retailers that have not already formed a strategy in this regard are at risk of falling behind. Mobile offers retailers a powerful platform to customise offerings, better connect with their customers and ultimately drive stronger retail sales.”

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2 thoughts on “Roy Morgan: Over 50 Percent of Australians Shop Online

    • Peter
    • 5th June

    ah yes, as usual only half the story where your use of statistics are concerned.

    online sales increased 11.9% for the year while total retail sales rose ‘JUST’ 3.4%.

    maybe you would like to include how those YTD growth percentages compare with the previous year? Not so impressive now is it?

  1. A great read Campbell! I think there are a number of factors to this. Firstly the Australian dollar experienced an extended high against the Greenback giving greater overseas purchasing power to ordinary Australians. While the statistic shows that 50% of Australian consumers are now shopping online it does not highlight what proportion of the online retailers were Australian companies. Many local brick and mortar retailers/wholesalers failed to pass on their exchange rate savings onto consumers. This made overseas and hence local online shopping far more appealing for first timers.


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