Australia flag Australia: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Australia


Internet access
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that there were around 13.5 million internet subscribers in 2017 – a 4.7% increase on the previous year. In addition, Sensis finds that 87% of Australians access the internet daily with averages showing that each spends 10 hours a day on an internet connected device. The average number of Internet-enabled devices owned is three. Australia remains one of the leading global users of the smartphone with 88% of the population owning at least one, the market growth currently being driven by older generations (Deloitte). When it comes to search engines, Google is the absolute leader with a market share of 94.8%, followed by Bing (3.7%) and Yahoo! (0.92%).
E-commerce market
According to eMarketer, Australia’s retail e-commerce market was worth US$ 20.2 billion in 2017, representing 7.3% of the country’s total retail market. Australia’s retail commerce market is expected to expand to US$ 28.9 billion by 2021 and to account for 9.7% of total retail sales in the country, thanks to the emergence of new online stores and the availability of easier payment methods. Marketplaces (eBay, Etsy) are the most popular channels. Amazon launched operations in Australia in December 2017. Woolworths is the leading grocery shopping website of Australia. Among the most popular specialised online stores in Australia we can also mention JB Hi-Fi and Kogan (home entertainment), The Iconic and Asos (fashion). Most e-shoppers prefer to purchase with desktop (59.6%) rather than mobile (40.4%), with mobile’s share expected to grow further in the near future. Australian online shoppers are ranked second in the world when it comes to shopping from cross border retailers, with cross border e-commerce expected to grow by 29% per year until 2020 (PowerRetail).
E-commerce sales and customers
In Australia, 25.1% of e-shoppers purchase online one or more times per week, with an average basket size value for online purchases of US$ 132. While department & variety stores is Australia’s most popular category, the fastest growing e-commerce sectors are media and fashion. Consumers prefer retail and shopping apps over mobile websites. Furthermore, 56% of consumers buy online to save money. Delivery costs significantly influence online purchasing and are the greatest barrier with 50% of consumers identifying cost as an issue and 92% citing free delivery as a reason to purchase online (Asendia Australia B2C eCommerce Report 2017). Consumers’ generally prefer to see the product in person before buying. Though they might have different transaction costs associated with them, the use of credit cards is widespread in Australia and it remains the preferred payment method when purchasing online. Debit cards are also commonly used, together with PayPal and other similar online payment platforms. Australian banks also offer their own payment gateway services. Cheques and money orders have become increasingly rare, but are accepted by some merchants.
Social media
Almost eight in 10 Australians (79%) are now on social media, which is up 10% on last year. While usage is almost universal among people aged 18-29 (99%), the big jumps were in the 30-39 age group (+14% with a penetration of 96%) and the 40-49 age group (+16% to 86%). Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with 74% of total users. 17 million Australians are active Facebook users out of a total population of 24.4 million. Other popular social platforms are Instagram, with 5 million active users, followed by 4 million people registered on LinkedIn; the same number using Snapchat, 3 million Australians are on Twitter and YouTube has a total of 15 million unique Australian visitors (source ABS). According to a report by Sensis, 52% of small businesses, 46% of medium-sized businesses and 21% of large businesses have no social media presence. Of those that are active on social media 80% of small businesses, 73% of medium-sized businesses and 39% of large businesses are not yet using paid social media advertising.

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Latest Update: March 2023

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