Sensis e-Business Report: Aussies Prefer to Buy Locally

Lying red kangaroo in nature. Detail view.

The 2014 Sensis e-Business report has found Aussies are turning their backs on overseas online purchasing.

Darren Behar
Posted by Darren Behar

While three in four Australians are making online purchases, only 25 per cent are purchasing from overseas businesses, down from 32 per cent last year.

“Almost half of all Australian SMEs that sold online reported mainly selling to local customers. With e-commerce offering customers the opportunity to purchase in a global marketplace, it is interesting to see strong interest in Australian businesses from local consumers. This is fantastic news for Australian SMEs,” said James Ciuffetelli, general manager Yellow Pages sales.

Demonstrating the strength of the local market, 84 per cent of online SME businesses reported selling to customers in the same city or town. Fifty-two per cent of online businesses reported selling to customers within their state and 53 per cent to customers interstate. Only 26 per cent sell to overseas customers.

Some 69 per cent of SMEs with websites reported that having a website improved the effectiveness of their business, mainly by increasing the exposure of their business.

Mr Ciuffetelli said: “The report highlights the importance of having an e-business presence for SMEs, to reach the bulk of their customers.”

Other significant findings from the report include:

  • Just two per cent of online business owners are connected to the National Broadband Network
  • Only 26 per cent of SMEs with websites reported that they had a mobile specific website (up from 17 per cent last year). This is despite the fact that 78 per cent of Australians are now accessing the internet on their mobile phones
  • While 95 per cent of SMEs reported that they were online, only 19 per cent of those reported that they had some form of strategy for the business’ digital activities
  • The biggest growth in online usage in the past year came from the proportion of SMEs that used the internet to streamline communications with customers and staff, from 59 per cent to 65 per cent
  • On average, the amount Australians are spending online has dropped approximately 20 per cent over the past 12 months
  • 85 per cent of Australians look for suppliers of products and services online, reinforcing the importance of SMEs having an online presence
  • SMEs in metropolitan areas were significantly more likely to report having taken orders online (58 per cent) than those in regional areas (46 per cent).

The Sensis e-Business Report is primarily based on the June 2014 Sensis Business Index and on telephone interviews conducted with approximately 1,800 small and medium size business proprietors. Results relating to consumer behaviour are based on a survey of 1,000 Australians aged 14 upwards.