New research from Roy Morgan shows that over the year to March 2018, 9.46 million Australians aged 14-plus (46.8 per cent) purchased something online in an average four week period, an increase of 590,000 in just 12 months. It also represents an increase of 2.3 million since 2014.
According to the study, entertainment and leisure items account for the greatest number of internet shoppers, with 4.5 million people buying something from this category in any given four weeks, followed by fashion (2.7 million), food and beverages (2.4 million) and reading material (2.2 million).
Online shopping has risen for every product category in the chart except for furniture. Between 2017 and 2018, fashion shoppers (2.7 million) and health and beauty products (1.4 million) both increased sales by 21.1 per cent over the year, with entertainment and leisure up by 11.1 per cent.
Online shopping still more the domain of the tech savvy but is becoming mainstream
While online shopping is gaining ever-increasing momentum with Australian consumers from all walks of life, those most likely to make purchases this way still tend to be from the more technologically savvy end of the spectrum.
Nearly half of all online shoppers (49.1 per cent) fall under the umbrella of either technology early adopters or professional technology mainstream, the two most digitally inclined segments of the population.
As their name suggests, technology early adopters are always the first to purchase and use new technologies, and tend to be well educated and high-earning.
Whereas they comprise 19.4 per cent of the overall Australian population, they account for 28.9 per cent of all people who buy something online in an average four weeks.
Similarly, the ambitious, early-adopting professional technology mainstream comprise just 16.1 per cent of the population but 20.2 per cent of all online shoppers. Meanwhile, the less switched-on technology traditionalists and technophobes are under-represented among Australia’s online shoppers.
Proportion of online shoppers by technology adoption segments
Commenting on the study, Roy Morgan CEO, Michelle Levine, said: “The data is unequivocal, Australians can’t get enough of shopping online. In any given four-week period, more and more of us are purchasing products as diverse as entertainment, clothing, food, reading matter, health and beauty products, furniture, and electronics via the internet. With nearly 9.5 million Australians or 46.8 per cent purchasing online in an average four week period and the rapid growth over recent years, this is a retail revolution.
“This rapid growth represents a major opportunity for the growth of Amazon when it develops its full product offering. Australian bricks and mortar retailers are under considerable pressure from overseas and local online retailers.