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Australians spend less money online than global average


But are tech-savvy when it comes to making purchases.

Australians are now spending a quarter of their discretionary income online but still lag behind the rest of the world, according to the 2018 Omnichannel Buying Report released by BigCommerce today.

26% of Australia's discretionary income is now spent online, compared with a global average of 31%, but we rely on digital tools before making a purchasing decision. Australians also cap online spending at $670 each month on average, far below the average $1305 spent in the UK and $1130 spent by those in the US.

Only 24% of Australians have made a purchase on Amazon in the last 6 months, compared with 80% of US and UK shoppers. This suggests Australians have been slower to adopt the ecommerce giant, which officially launched here in November last year, but not necessarily online shopping in general. 63% of local respondents made a purchase on eBay in the last 6 months, only 2% less than the number who made a purchase in a physical store.

The cost of overseas shipping may play a role in our reluctance to spend big online. 63% of respondents suggested that after price, free shipping was the most important factor when shopping online, according to a survey conducted by last October.

A discerning public

While Australians are spending less overall, the research suggests they may just be careful shoppers, with 48% of respondents to the Omnichannel Buying Report saying they had visited a brand's website before making an in-store purchase and 28% reading customer reviews before buying a product.

Jordan Sim, group product manager at BigCommerce, believes the specific demands of Australian shoppers mean businesses will need to adjust their approach.

“The Australian market is proving to be a unique beast compared to other markets, and retailers need to listen to how Australians are actually shopping today. Consumers are calling for the barriers between online and in-store shopping to be broken down as they seek a smoother shopping experience across platforms," he said.

Moving online

With 9.5 million Australians making an online purchase each month according to a Roy Morgan study from earlier this year, local businesses may need to invest in the type of service they provide to consumers.

Sim told there are a few important steps that businesses need to take in order to meet consumer demands. "One of the most important things that retailers can do is take the time to build a strong omnichannel approach to selling, to ensure they are present wherever customers are spending their time. This might include a brand’s own website, larger online marketplaces, pop-up stores, permanent retail stores and across social media."

"We also saw from the report that Aussies are spending less of their discretionary income online in comparison to the US and UK, suggesting that Australian consumers are pickier with the brands they choose to buy from, and more careful with their spending. This means that the brands offering a unique, high quality product at a reasonable price point are more likely to thrive in the current market."

The local approach

Despite the worries of local business, the arrival of global brands in Australia may not have the negative impact many predict, with 57% of Australians suggesting the presence of international retailers would not affect their decision to buy from local merchants.

Sim suggests understanding the local market is key for any retailer looking to succeed in Australia. "For businesses looking to set up shop down under, it’s clear that a local, tailored approach is needed. Just because something works well in the UK and US, doesn't mean that it’ll be successful here."

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