The latest research from online marketplace eBay reveals that Australian consumer loyalty is alive and well, with one in five online shoppers confirming they will actively seek out smaller Australian sellers as international competition heats up.
While more overseas retailers expected to enter the local market there has been concern for small business owners, however, according to new research from eBay, Australian shoppers are pledging allegiance to local small business retailers.
Nearly a third (33%) of online consumers said that their shopping habits won’t charge regardless of new players in the retail market. In fact, a mere 4% of online shoppers said they would exclusively use Amazon when it enters, with 29% suggesting instead – they would continue to use a variety of platforms.
Gavin Dennis, CFO and head of retail insights for eBay Australia, suggests that speculation about the impact of increased international competition could be causing unnecessary angst.
“In the world of small business, many owners have concerns around where they will fit in the buyer mindset when bigger international players enter the market. However, Australian online shoppers are telling us that the concern is unfounded – with many suggesting they will be seeking out Australian small businesses as a counter to this market change.”
A disconnect between consumer loyalty and small business concern is highlighted through the online small businesses surveyed, with 60% believing Amazon’s predicted entry was likely or very likely to cause market share or customer loss, compared to 30% deeming it is unlikely to impact their situation.
For some online small businesses, disruption via competition is perceived as a threat to their livelihood, with 33% believing small and medium businesses (SMBs) could be forced to shut down if international competition significantly increases.
“A good chunk of Australian consumers are telling us that the market change expected to hit in the next 12 months is making shopping with small businesses even more important to their retail experience,” says Dennis.
“The Australian small business sector is extremely important to our country’s economic prosperity, and in the online SMB space we are constantly seeing innovation and a leveraging of their ability to be nimble. SMBs are best placed to deliver unique experiences, great customer service and the broadest inventory.”
The research revealed our sunshine state is the most committed to local businesses, with one in three Queenslanders suggesting they will actively seek out smaller retailers, followed closely by New South Wales residents and then Victorians – of whom one in four will be committing to shopping with small retailers.
In a boon for local industry, 42% of small business owners suggested that the entry of overseas competitors will create a platform to breed more partnerships between those on the big and small sides of town, quickening the pace of innovation.
“Change is necessary and inevitable for progress, and the online small businesses who understand this are the ones who will remain a step ahead of their competition and use their unique selling points to their advantage,” explains Dennis.
At a time when choice and accessibility is no longer a barrier for consumers, eBay says it is seeing a change in the way Australians like to shop online. “The rise in consumers seeking the unique and the colourful has created a whitespace which can be best serviced by the Australian online small business community.”
“I’d encourage our small businesses to leverage this vital asset as the Australian retail sector moves into just another phase of change. I expect to see small businesses taking this shift in their stride and continuing to prosper.”