Finance Your Budget What we buy when we shop online

What we buy when we shop online

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Victorians buy footy scarves and books, Queenslanders are snapping up women’s clothes and jewellery, while people living in the Northern Territory have car parts and fishing gear on their radar.

A snapshot of the Australian online shopper from eBay reveals quirky trends from state to state on top selling items, how much people spend, and even what time of the day they make a purchase.

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If you live in New South Wales, then DVDs and NRL merchandise are highest on your online hit list. Tasmanians are buying nail art, and Western Australians hunt for wedding and party supplies.

When it comes to the biggest online spenders, the Northern Territory forks out the most money per item, but shoppers in the regional Queensland town of Toowoomba are the most active, buying more items than anyone in Australia.

Interestingly, South Australians were found to be the biggest night owls when buying online, whereas West Australians opt for early morning bargains and get cracking before 7am.

The New Daily has obtained exclusive research from eBay to show how we shop, state by state.

eBay’s breakdown of what Australians are buying online:


How we shop online

Delving deeper, Australia’s penchant for online shopping is undeniable.

Online payment gateway eWAY handles a quarter of online sales in Australia and recently analysed 2.2 million transactions worth $361 million in sales for the July period.

It found Melbourne and Sydney were fuelling the country’s online transactions and that Australian spending continues to surge.

Transactions went up a significant 19.3 per cent to $361 million from the previous year.

The analysis also tracked annual growth over industries, pinpointing florists, caterers, sporting goods, and clothing as the biggest movers in sales.

Online shopping

Further insights into Australia’s online shopping landscape can be garnered from figures released this week by the National Australia Bank in its latest online retail sales report.

It found online retail spending now accounts for 6.6 per cent, or $15.9 billion of traditional retail spending.

The report says online shopping is still dominated by 25-54 year olds, but suggests there’s a trend in people over 65 venturing into the world of buying online.

Over 65s account for 28 per cent of all online grocery and liquor sales, more than any other age group.

The 18-24 age group favours online fashion shopping, while 25-34s spent more on homewares and appliances.

Groceries (15.9 per cent), department store goods (11.5 per cent), and homewares (7.5 per cent), experienced the biggest growth, while toys were down 15.1 per cent from the past year.

When comparing states, New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, spend more online, but ACT residents spend the most per capita.

Changing times

Paul Greenberg, of the industry collective the National Online Retailers Association, believes the retail industry is adapting to changing times.

“We’re starting to see some real progress in the way Australian retail as a broad industry is responding to the adoption of technology by Australian shoppers,” he said.

“There’s a real sense that the new honeypot of Australian retail is an intersection between physical and digital.”

Fashion is high on the list of many online shoppers. Photo: Shutterstock

Mr Greenberg used the example of fashion, where many online retailers now offer same day delivery, to illustrate modernisation.

He said online shoppers want choice, convenience, and good customer service.

“Any retailer in Australia that has responded to customer needs in offering them multiple platforms will do very well.”

Recent research from Roy Morgan said online shopping had reached mainstream status in the first quarter of 2013 for the first time, stating, “Australians who don’t buy something online in an average three month period are in the minority”.

How much do we spend

Roy Morgan’s analysis found the average shopper spends $285 online within a four-week period, with flights, concert tickets, electronics, clothes, and food and beverages the top five categories people spend on.

“The internet continues to transform Australian’s shopping habits: more people shop online, they spend more, they buy products across more categories and they visit stores less often,” Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine said.

But while the number of consumers shopping online has evidently increased, Nielsen research suggests looking to buy something online converts into both online and offline purchases.

Results from the 2014 Nielsen Connected Consumers Report show online sales of items such as books, clothing, and digital music have proved successful. But when it comes to things like groceries, liquor, clothing, and pharmacy items, people tended to browse online and purchase in-store.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows Australian businesses generated an estimated $237 billion in revenue from the online sales of goods and services during 2011-12, a 25 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.

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