Growth

Australians shopping locally online: report

Kirsten Robb /

Aussies are more exposed to global shopping options than ever before but the vast majority are choosing to shop locally, according the latest Sensis e-Business Report.

As online retail soars, the research shows more than 80% of SMEs who trade online are selling their products to customers in the same city or town, while 52% are selling to customers within their own state and 53% to customers interstate.

Three in four Australians are making online purchases, according to the report, but only 25% are buying from overseas, down from 32% last year.

Telsyte analyst Foad Fadaghi told SmartCompany since the fall in the exchange rate last year, there has been a decrease in overseas spending.

“What we have found is consumers are price elastic when it comes to purchasing overseas,” says Fadaghi

He says many consumers consider online shopping as a discount channel and when prices become relatively more expensive, they change their purchasing behaviour accordingly.

“It comes down to searching for the best possible deal,” says Fadaghi.

“If the price is cheaper locally and delivery time is less, or even if prices are similar and delivery time is less, then it might be more compelling to shop locally.”

The Sensis e-Business Report also showed 69% of SMEs with websites report having a website improved the effectiveness of their business, mainly by increasing their exposure, but only 26% of SMEs with websites reported having a mobile-capable website.

While this figure was up from 17% last year, there is potential for concerns given 78% of Australians now access the internet on their mobile phones.

Fadaghi says SMEs are slower to adopt mobile-responsive websites, compared to big business players.

“If you look at websites 10 years ago, the small business sector was slower to adopt there too,” he says.

“I think that will dramatically change in the next couple of years given the importance and ease to get into responsive design now.”

Ninety-five per cent of SMEs surveyed by Sensis reported they have an online presence, but only 19% those said they had some form of strategy for the business’ digital activities.

Just 2% of respondents said they were connected to the National Broadband Network.

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Kirsten Robb

Kirsten Robb is a former journalist at SmartCompany. Previously, she worked at News Corp as a property reporter for Leader Newspapers and the Herald Sun, and holds a Masters of Journalism at Melbourne University.

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