A report has found that Australians are among the most regular online shoppers in the world.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) at Swinburne University of Technology cited data from the 2011 Australian component of the World Internet Project in its submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into the retail industry.
The submission noted that a quarter of Australians are buying online at least once a week compared with 17 percent of Americans and less than 10 percent of Europeans, Israelis or Japanese.
“This doesn’t mean that Australians are necessarily spending more money online than in retail shops, or that it is the main cause of the present retail downturn as some have suggested – but it does indicate more people are going online to buy things, more often,” said Swinburne senior research fellow Scott Ewing.
The study showed the average value of internet purchases made by Australians increasing from $179 a month in 2007 to $206 a month today, although the latter figure has been flat for the past two years.
The internet is also becoming a more popular means of shopping for older Australians.
Online spending by younger age groups has remained flat over the past four years, however for shoppers aged 50-64 the average monthly spend has gone from $157 to $258 with those over 65 now spending an average of $135 a month, up from $105.
But Swinburne’s Ewing issued a caveat to online retailers, noting that consumers continued to have concerns about payment security, their ability to assess the quality of goods and whether or not they would be able to return those that were faulty or unsuitable.
There was some bright news for bricks and mortar retailers with the study finding that more Australians are looking for products online before actually buying them in stores.