US tech firm Pitney Bowes has released its fourth annual Global Online Shopping Study which showed Australian shoppers continue to lead the world when it comes to the percentage of shoppers who buy cross-border.
You can read the study in full here.
However, the strong influence of shipping and delivery options is now changing the way Australians make online purchases domestically and from retailers around the world. An overwhelming 82 per cent of Australian shoppers revealed they prefer free shipping with a longer delivery time, as opposed to shipping at a cost with shorter delivery time (18 per cent).
The study identified the top three reasons for Australians shopping online cross-border were price (64 per cent), selection (42 per cent) and quality (24 per cent). Only equal to Hong Kong, 88 per cent of Australians purchased products from retailers in a different country within the last year; almost double the percentage of United States shoppers (47 per cent).
Australians are turning to online shopping after disappointing experiences with bricks and mortar stores. According to the study, 72 per cent of Australian shoppers were unable to find a product while shopping in-store, with 19 per cent of shoppers then ordering the item online at home and 21 per cent turning to an alternative retailer or online retailer.
While many Australians are shopping online, nearly half (40 per cent) have experienced challenges with their online orders during the holidays. Top challenges with online orders in Australia included shipping tracking inaccuracies, which rose to 12 per cent from seven per cent last year; and having items shipped to the wrong address or lost in mail which doubled to eight per cent, from four per cent last year.
A snapshot of other key Australian retail trends is outlined below.
How Australian customers research and shopping is changing
Australian shoppers are turning to marketplaces more frequently. This year, 52 per cent of Australians polled looked at a marketplace for research compared to only 41 per cent last year. And 50 per cent say they look at retail websites directly for new products, down two per cent from last year.
When it comes to buying online, domestic retailers still dominate in Australia. 55 per cent of purchases were made directly from retailers and 45 per cent from marketplaces, a 3 percentage point increase for marketplaces over last year.
Shipping and delivery options are critical to online shoppers
While the majority of shoppers said they prefer free shipping to fast delivery, 64 per cent of Australian online shoppers are using click and collect–ordering online and picking up in-store. Nearly half of Australians (48 per cent) have their purchases shipped to a location other than their home, such as a workplace or parcel locker. Even during cross-border transactions, Australians are encouraged to buy from retailers who offer tracking of purchases and packages (42 per cent) and local delivery options (32 per cent).
All of this shopping is fuelling a boom in global parcel volumes according to the latest Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index. Parcel volumes in Australia grew by 13 per cent from 2015-2016 YOY and it is projected that the Australian parcel market will grow to more than one billion parcels a year in 2021. That’s estimated growth of between 9 per cent and 12 per cent from 2017 to 2021 (CAGR).
Paul Greenberg, the founder of the NORA Network and strategic advisor to Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce in Australia, says local retailers need this kind of data to strengthen their global brand. “The Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Study shows the tremendous opportunity ahead for Australian retailers looking to embrace global shoppers,” said Greenberg. “Australian retailers need to go global. The opportunity is here and now, and so are the increasingly valuable shipping solutions needed to be successful.”
“Australian shoppers have an entire global marketplace at their fingertips. The demand for a seamless customer experiences means customers expect that there is always a way to get the product they want, shipped wherever they want, whenever they want it. This creates both opportunities and challenges for retailers,” said Lila Snyder, executive vice president and president, global ecommerce and presort Services, Pitney Bowes.
“With even more purchases expected to be online this holiday shopping season, retailers need to double-down on the elements of the consumer experience that matter most – delivery, returns, tracking and world-class customer service.”