The Australian online retail industry will only go from strength to strength, with Forrester Research forecasting the industry will almost double by 2015, to be worth $33.3 billion. With the proposed NBN and the proliferation of devices, such as Internet Protocol TV, consumer demand for online retail is set to explode!
The recent Forrester Research Online Forecast 2010 to 2015 (Asia Pacific) report, predicts that online retail sales in Australia will ‘almost double from $16.9 billion in 2009 to $33.3 billion in 2015’ – great news for local retailers!
“The one overwhelming point for retailers to note, is that we are in a period of rapid growth which is only just beginning,” says Steven Noble, Senior Analyst, eBusiness and Channel Strategy Professionals for Forrester Research, Inc.
Forrester projects that Australia is becoming a digital ecomony, with the internet penetration rate set to rise to 83% in 2015 – meaning that Australian consumers will ‘come to expect far richer online experiences than before’.
With the federal government’s proposed National Broadband Network (NBN), devices such as Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) will move into the mainstream.
Noble predicts that, “The retail of digital content is going to become increasingly important. When you can buy a movie using the same device that you use to watch a movie and when the process of finding and buying that movie is as easy as the process of loading a DVD – then buying digital content will become a very natural process for many more Australian consumers than it is today.”
In terms of the more popular online retail categories, computer hardware and software and appliances are predicted to continue to grow at respectable rates.
“We should also start to see some of the other categories that have only recently matured in the US and Europe, to eventually start to mature here – categories such as Apparel,” commented Noble.
“Apparel is a hard thing to sell online, but for some time online retailers particularly in the US have worked out how to do this well, making the product look very comfortable and providing a safe and attractive experience.
“If online retail in Australia has lagged, it seems to have been in these ‘difficult’ retail categories. We didn’t find that apparel was one of the largest domestic categories, but we know Australians are buying apparel online. However, you would expect as the industry matures, that some of these categories will make up lost ground.”
Interestingly the report points out, that as consumer demand for online retailing increases, the lack of skilled labour within the local market will prove a constraint – suggesting that ‘Australian retailers will increasingly recruit eBusiness and channel strategy professionals from the US and Europe’.
The full report can be purchased from the Forrester Research, Inc website.