It’s official. The number of Australians who shop online has tipped over the 50 per cent mark for the first time.
After over a decade of consistent year-on-year growth, internet shopping finally reached mainstream status in the first quarter of 2013: for the first time, Australians who don’t buy something online in an average three month period are in the minority.
The figures, revealed as part of the Roy Morgan Research State of the Nation report earlier this month, has confirmed again that online retail is a growing force.
The report, compiled by conducting over 50,000 interviews a year, aims to examine how digital technologies are affecting consumers’ habits, attitudes and behaviours.
To be exact, the study found that, some 50.3 per cent of Australians had shopped online in the last three months, with the average internet shopper spending $285 online per four week period.
Travel, Entertainment & Leisure, Electronics, Fashion and Food & Beverages were listed as the top five categories by expenditure.
According to the latest consumer data from Roy Morgan Research, Australians (aged 14+) also spent $24.3 billion online in the 12 months to March 2013, an increase of 11.9 per cent from a year ago.
The report, which has a special focus on online retail, also indicated a 12 per cent growth in the sector overall in the past year.
So – where does this leave bricks-and-mortar retailers in the scale of things?
According to the study, as more and more products, brands and services become available to buy with the click of a mouse button (or tap on a screen), shoppers who bought online in the last three months are increasingly less likely to go to an actual store.
In total, 23 per cent of online shoppers go to stores less often now, compared to 10 per cent in 2003.
However, according to Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine the online retail beast does have an achilles heel.
“Despite the significant growth, security and trust are still unresolved issues for online retailing. Fifty-six per cent of all Australians do not feel comfortable giving their credit card details online, and even among those who have bought online in an average three month period, nearly two thirds say they only buy from retailers they know and one fifth only buy from Australian online retailers,” he said.
Will this be enough to even out the odds and give physical stores a fighting chance in the future?