An “exponential” growth in shopping via smartphones and an increasing customer awareness of price promotions are some of the key retail trends identified by separate new reports by eBay and Nielsen.
According to the latest eBay Online Business Index (OBI), nearly half of Australia’s top eBay businesses said they would optimise online content for mobile.
Almost a quarter (24%) said they would develop a mobile website, while more than 20% said they would develop a mobile app.
According to eBay vice president Deborah Sharkey, mobile commerce in Australia is growing at an exponential rate.
“In this year’s OBI, 72% of the top 3,000 Australian eBay sellers said mobile commerce would play an important role in their business strategy this year,” Sharkey said in a statement.
“We believe Australian consumers and retailers will continue to lead the global mobile commerce revolution, blurring the line between online and offline commerce.”
Meanwhile, Nielsen has released its annual Retail and Shopper Trends Report, which identifies key trends and market shifts in Australia’s grocery sector.
StartupSmart picks out five key trends based on eBay and Nielsen’s findings:
1. The mCommerce craze
There’s no denying the rapid growth of mobile sales, as highlighted by eBay’s latest statistics.
In addition to celebrating its 100 millionth app download, eBay has recorded 100 million listings via mobile.
On an average day on eBay mobile Australia, a vehicle is sold every nine minutes, a ladies handbag is sold every four minutes and a pair of ladies shoes is sold every two minutes.
2. The downfall of private labels
According to Nielsen, overall private label penetration has fallen by 0.7% since the same time last year, with the largest drops being in the biscuit, canned fruit/fruit snacks, and cake/pies and fresh pastries categories.
According to Kosta Conomos, executive director of Nielsen’s retail industry group, the recent emphasis on branded products by retailers is a key driver in the fall in private label sales.
“There has been a closing of price gaps between branded and private label products recently, which is being largely driven by retailer price wars,” Conomos says.
“Shoppers are now seeing zero differentiation between pricing in Coles and Woolworths compared to three years ago when Woolworths was largely given credit for lower prices.”
3. The importance of price
Nielsen’s latest report shows shoppers have a heightened awareness of prices.
In 2010, less than 50% of shoppers felt confident they knew the prices of the things they bought most often, compared to 60% in 2012.
“Consumers are becoming a lot more promotionally savvy and decreasing the average price per unit. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean we’re buying less,” Conomos says.
“Australians are getting greater value for money through shrewd shopping behaviour.”
4. The rise of cross-shopping
Cross-shopping between major retailers has also continued to increase, according to Nielsen, demonstrating a lack of loyalty or differentiation compared to other markets such as the UK.
Nielsen’s trending data shows cross-shopping between Coles and Woolworths has increased from 87.2% in 2010 to 88.1% this year.
“As retailers continue to focus on the same initiatives such as private label, loyalty reward cards or low shelf prices, shoppers are increasingly seeing them as ‘hygiene factors’,” Conomos says.
“There is a perceived lack of differentiation between major retailers, which leads consumers to look at the intangible benefits of a brand – what is the value proposition?”
5. The need for differentiation
Nielsen’s report shows retailers need to form an emotional connection with shoppers through “wow” factors, which are increasingly driving store choice.
Staff service has also significantly increased in importance for shoppers in the past 12 months.
“We live in a fragmented, multicultural society so retailers should therefore be differentiating themselves through more targeted campaigns to meet shoppers’ specific needs,” Conomos says.
“Unless further differentiation occurs among Australian retailers, we’ll continue to see very high penetration levels and cross-shopping, with low levels of loyalty.”