e-commerce platform BigCommerce has released its 2018 Omnichannel Buying Report, a global research study that examines survey responses of nearly 3,000 digital consumers to understand the role that online and offline channels play in customers’ purchase journeys.
According to the study, one of every four dollars of monthly discretionary income in Australia is now spent online, but the relationship between online and offline channels is far more nuanced. Forty-eight per cent of Australian consumer respondents visited a brand’s website before making a purchase in a physical retail store, and over a quarter (26 per cent) will attempt to price match the product online.
The study indicates Australian consumers have been slower to adopt Amazon than their global counterparts, with only a quarter of respondents (24 per cent) having purchased from the marketplace in the past six months, compared to 80 per cent of US and UK respondents. Comparatively, Aussies continue to utilise eBay as a platform, with 63 per cent making a purchase on the platform in the last six months.
“In Australia, we’re seeing a huge shift in the retail industry. Consumers are calling for the barriers between online and in-store shopping to be broken down as they seek a smoother shopping experience across platforms,” said Jordan Sim, group product manager at BigCommerce. “The Australian market is proving to be a unique beast compared to other markets, and retailers need to listen to how Australians are actually shopping today. Our hope is that these insights will provide retailers with the tools and knowledge they need to create shopping experiences that inspire customer loyalty and drive conversion.”
The results of the study emphasise that brands can no longer afford a single-channel retail experience and increasingly must make products available across multiple digital and offline channels where consumers are shopping. Key Australian findings from the report include:
- eBay still trumps Amazon — Despite the “Amazon Effect” taking hold of the ecommerce industry globally, the same cannot be said in Australia. The retail giant, which only officially launched in Australia last November, doesn’t have nearly the same influence regionally as other sales channels, with only 24 per cent of Australian respondents having made a purchase on Amazon in the last six months. eBay, on the other hand, is thriving in Australia. Sixty-three per cent of Australian respondents made a purchase on the marketplace in the last six months, only two per cent lower than the number of respondents (65 per cent) that made a purchase in a physical store.
- Australians are a thrifty (yet tech savvy) bunch — Australians are more prudent shoppers than their global counterparts online, spending approximately 26 per cent of their discretionary income on online purchases – five percentage points lower than the global average. In terms of online shopping, Aussie respondents on average cap online spending at $670 per month, spending significantly less than shoppers in the UK ($1305) and the US ($1130). Australians do appreciate new ways of shopping, with 39 per cent of those surveyed indicating that they shop on mobile — nearly as frequently as shopping via a desktop (41 per cent).
- Data privacy remains a major concern – but not at the expense of convenience — While Australian consumers are aware retailers are collecting their personal data, they seem less bothered by the practice than consumers in the U.S. and UK. Just over half of Australians surveyed (58 per cent) stated they would opt out of sharing data with retailers if given the option. This is significantly lower that the global average of 70 per cent. Similar to the U.S. and UK, Australians view product discounts and free shipping as the best ways to incentivise data sharing.
- Aussies shop across multiple channels — Australian consumers rely heavily on digital tools to aid their decision process, with nearly half (48 per cent) of consumers having visited a brand’s website before making a purchase in store, and another 28 per cent reading customer reviews about the brand or product before purchasing. Television also plays an influential role in the decision making process, with nearly a third (31 per cent) of Australian respondents watching a commercial about a brand prior to purchasing in store (compared to 25 per cent globally). In addition, 29 per cent read customer reviews online and 27 per cent received an email promotion before making a purchase.
- No fear of the great unknown — Contrary to popular belief, reports that Australian retailers have concerns on the arrival of global brands like Forever21 and Zara are overblown. Fifty-seven per cent of Australian respondents do not think the presence of more global retailers will impact their decision to buy from local merchants.