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The Australian experience

The eCommerce story across the Tasman is as you’d expect, one of size. With a larger population and bigger take home salaries, Australians are embracing online shopping with their disposable dollar. The online share of the retail market in 2018 is on a par with New Zealand at around 9%. But growth has fallen back in recent months due to the fragile nature of the Australian economy. All the same, online purchases are estimated to exceed AUD 28.6 billion.1

Marketplaces have made good ground in Australia and the most popular online sites visited by Australian shoppers are eBay, Gumtree, Amazon (international), OzBargain and, most recently, The arrival of Amazon on the ground in Australia is predicted to have impact on local retailers with JB Hi-Fi anticipating a 33% drop in online earnings.1

If you thought it was big here, Black Friday/Cyber Monday is massive for Australian e-tailers, with sales surging 28.7% year-on-year. Outstripping all sectors was Health & Beauty with a whopping 54% year-on-year growth.

As you’d expect, the popularity of these online events is having a major impact on traditional bricks and mortar retailers. In 2018, Australian retailers reported foot traffic for traditional Boxing Day Sales was down by as much as 20% – whereas online shopping was up 24% year-on-year.

Did you know
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Did you know?

Most shoppers (80%) say free returns are important when choosing an online retailer but:

  • Only half (52%) of shoppers have actually returned an item they purchased online.
  • A third (35%) can’t recall if free returns was an option in their last purchase.
  • A third (30%) don’t even look at a site’s 
  • returns policy.
  • Over half (53%) expect free returns to be based on meeting a minimum spend.

Source: NZ Online Shopper Survey 2018

The biggest area of growth in 2018 was in Fashion, Health & Beauty and Variety Stores, all experiencing over 20% growth in sales. Drilling down into Fashion, it’s Activewear that’s running out the door with an incredible 37.5% rise in sales. This was followed by cosmetics with an equally impressive growth of 36.4%.2

This impressive increase in online spend isn’t limited to Sydney or Melbourne; there’s double digit growth right across all States – including Tasmania, which surprised us all with the strongest online growth of all at 25.8%.3

Australians prefer to go shopping late in the day, and the majority are doing so from their mobiles with a 52%4 year-on-year increase in mobile purchases. And by mobile, we really mean mobile – with a 12.5% increase in shopping occurring on public transport.3

Like New Zealand, it’s the younger generation of 35-44 year olds who dominate Australian online shopping. However, it’s the 25-34 year olds who are doing the most shopping internationally according to the NAB 2017 report – perhaps a sign of less disposable income and more bargain hunting.5

52 percent stat

While Australia is the second most popular destination for Kiwi online shoppers, New Zealand online stores are largely undiscovered by our neighbours. Only 8% of Australian online shoppers say they made a purchase with Kiwi retailers in the last year.6 This represents a huge opportunity for New Zealand online e-tailers to grab a share of our closest large market without the cost of changing language, product ranges or sizes. We are, after all, pretty close to our Aussie mates when it comes to tastes. And when it comes to delivery, experience shows we can surprise and delight Australian consumers with a speedy delivery.6

8 percent stat

1. Source: NAB Online Retail Sales Index Dec 2018
2. Source: Inside Australian Online Shopping: A preview of the 2019 eCommerce industry report, February 2019
3. Source: FY18 eCommerce Market Update, Australian Post
4. Source: Inside Australia Online Shopping 2017 eCommerce Industry Paper
5. Source: NAB Online Retail Sales Index, In-depth Report - December 2017
6. Source: Cross-Border eCommerce Shopper Survey 2018, Key Findings – All Countries, (November 2018), International Post Corporation


Continue to:   A socio-economic perspective


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