Why retailers should advertise in the Pilbara

Perth-based digital marketing analyst Mark Garner recently informed the rest of us about something we’d suspected for some time.

Quoting the most recent NAB Online Retail Index, “WA Online Shopping Grows at Twice the National Average” the headline screamed. It seems that WA consumers are putting their money where their mouse is and spending up big online.

And who can really be surprised by this statistic?

WA booms online and off

We keep hearing about the multi-speed economy and one look at the state versus state economic performances only underscores what’s going on out there.

Those of us in the non-mining states can only look on in awe and envy as the state comparisons are reported in the financial media.

But there’s a fascinating sidelight of all this mining wealth and that is just how remote the mines that feed the boom really are.

Anyone who’s ever spent time in WA has heard how Perth is the most remote city on the planet. If you think that’s remote, consider that you have to travel another 1,500-odd kilometres to reach the mining centres, which are located in some of the hottest and most desolate parts of the country.

Disposal income and time

Every week, thousands of mining workers are shuttled from Perth to the north-west of the state, where they work for lengthy stints, earning well above the average wage, before heading back to cities and families again.

With comparatively little to do, and few shops in which to spend their hard-earned, it appears that many are turning to their PCs and mobile devices to shop, as the below graph from the NAB Index illustrates.

The index shows how different states compare against the national average (being 100 points on this scale).

As you can see, the levels of disposable income in regional WA, combined with the lack of retail outlets and leisure activities, give the region a considerable lead over the next biggest spender. Interestingly, that’s Perth metro.


Compare this to a comparatively struggling (big) non-mining area, like regional Victoria, which trails the rest of the country for online spending.

Consider too that regional WA, with only a mere fraction of the population of Sydney, still spends more online than our biggest city.

A great place to promote your online business

Of course, businesses who have been smart enough to embrace the online world need only point their mice in the direction of the WA mining towns to tap into this rich vein of online spending.

Clever marketers understand that these days you don’t actually need to be near the market to be able to cater for it.

This blog has ventured more than once that it would be worth experimenting with what is comparatively cheap advertising in booming regions to drive traffic to your online store. Now the data gives that idea real substance.

For the record, some of the advertising outlets in the Pilbara include:

In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team, which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond. www.theeteam.com.au


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