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Online Shopping Statistics in Australia

Jul 18, 2008
Everyone says there is an increase in online shopping in Australia. But it's hard to find solid data to back that up.

Although the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases regular findings on population growth and employment rates, the most recent online shopping information seems to be dated June 06. The archive figures show a definite increase in online internet usage between 2004 and 2006, with 70% of Australians over 14 using the internet in the last month, although the primary online activities were email, general surfing and product research. Shopping and selling online did increase from 41% to 64% over that period, with the income from online businesses increasing by 19% from 2004 to 2005.

The Australian Retailers Association provides more recent information, although the latest figures were not positive. The media release for 17 June 2008 was headed "retail profits plummet as shoppers stop spending". 10% of retailers reported a decrease in profitability over the last quarter, despite 35% indicating that they increased prices over the period, although that covers online and offline retailers.

The Norton Online Living Report (in their first bi-annual report at norton.com/onlineliving) states that 76% of online adults had purchased something online at some time. Mind you this was from a survey of 4687 adults from eight countries, and extrapolated. Around 55% of Australians have a high degree of confidence online, with around a third feeling confident sharing personal information when shopping online. The majority have security software on their computers, with basic precautions such as changing passwords, using multiple email addresses and staying on trusted sites.

Hitwise has recent data about Australian internet usage, grouped by category. Their May 08 report says that top searches driving traffic to shopping sites online were ebay, trading post, ticketek, harvey norman, everyday rewards (Woolworths), amazon and target.

Google.com/trends searches for "online shopping australia" show that volumes have been relatively consistant over the past few years, apart from seasonal peaks leading up to Christmas.

Verisign is a global provider of infrastructure to communicate and conduct commerce with confidence, with digital certificates protecting over a million servers worldwide. From the Verisign site (courtesy of data from Ipsos-Insight), 69% of online shoppers are concerned about online credit card fraud, 85% concerned about identity theft, and 37% believe that online shopping is a risk factor for identity theft. Displaying a trust logo on a site is felt to be important by 94% of Australian online shoppers. The majority of shoppers prefer to use sites that display the Verisign Secured Seal.

Newspapers frequently have generic articles about the increase in online shopping. With the increase in petrol prices, and the ability to compare prices online to find the best bargain, avoiding crowds and queues, and the ability to find unusual gifts, it is easy to understand why people are interested in shopping online. New online shops are starting up all the time. The increased competition does lead to more benefits to shoppers, such as free gift wrapping and delivery.

If you are just starting out at shopping online, here are some useful tips:

1. Look for a trust logo, such as Verisign, to verify site authenticity

2. Check refund, privacy, returns, guarantees and delivery costs

3. Check reputation at shopping review sites that allow ratings and comments, such as www.myonlineshops.com.au

4. Pay by credit card, possibly having a separate credit card with a low limit, specifically for online use

5. Ensure capture of personal and credit details are secure. The address of the page should start with https, and there should be an icon of a padlock on the bottom of the screen

6. Print a copy of the receipt and also save a screen print of the receipt

7. If you have problems getting a refund, visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/shopping/shoppingfromhome/internetshopping.html
About the Author
Penny Naim is an avid online shopper, and online researcher. Discover a huge range of quality Australian shops, rate and write reviews about Online Shopping Australia at www.myonlineshops.com.au.
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