New research busts online shopping myths - KPMG Australia
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New research busts online shopping myths

New research busts online shopping myths

Baby boomers spend more than millennials shopping online, and men more than women – according to new global research from KPMG International into the US$1.9 trillion global eCommerce market.


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The report, released today, surveyed 18,430 consumers living in over 50 countries, including 899 Australians. The respondents were between the ages of 15 and 70, each having purchased at least one consumer product online in the past 12 months. The research investigated a number of factors related to online shopping, including consumer purchasing behaviour, the shopping decision process, attitudes and preferences, payments and delivery and customer loyalty and feedback.

The research found that, despite the common belief that online shopping is largely driven by the younger and more ‘tech-savvy’ Millennials (born between 1982 and 2001), Generation X consumers in fact made 20 percent more purchases last year than their younger counterparts. Baby Boomers on average spent more per transaction than either of the two other younger generation groups, spending AUD$278 per transaction compared to AUD$260 for Gen X and AUD$237 for Millennials. Also, while men and women shopped with about the same frequency, on average, the men spent more per transaction (men spent AUD$301 vs. AUD$207 for women on their most recent purchase).

Kelly Owens, KPMG Australia Partner-in-Charge for Customer & Growth commented: “The idea that online shopping should be tailored for younger consumers is increasingly outdated. This report provides statistically significant insight that shatters some of the myths of online retail. To highlight one observation, it is Grandma and Grandad who are spending the most money online.”

“This becomes increasingly important as more and more shopping moves from bricks and mortar stores into the digital realm. Globally, we are seeing a trend towards even the largest physical goods, such as furniture, appliances and cars being made online, alongside ‘easier to ship’ products like books, music, electronics, accessories and apparel.”

“Another interesting fact is that less than 35 percent of online shoppers purchased online on the same day as they first thought about buying the product, with 30 percent buying more than a week later. This suggests that there is a lot more online research being undertaken before a buy decision is made.”

Local perspectives

The local findings show that Australian consumers lag Asia and the U.S. when it comes to online transaction volume – making an average of just 16 transactions annually, compared to 22 for Asia and 19 in the U.S.

Other Australian findings include:

  • The average cost of product bought online is AU$205 for Australia, lower than the global average of AU$255. 
  • The top category in which Australian’s shop online was Women’s apparel, with other top categories being books/music, men’s apparel and electronics – and wine also making the top 5. 
  • 65 percent of transactions in Australia and New Zealand were from a retailer located in Australia and New Zealand, 13.1 percent were from Western Europe and 11.9 percent from the U.S.
  • 35 percent of Australians bought from an online-only store, compared to 50 percent globally, while 44 percent of Australian’s bought from a retail store’s online site, compared to 33 percent globally. The remainder of online purchases were from auction sites 11 percent (such as eBay), or other sites such direct from manufacturer sites (12 percent).

Trent Duvall, KPMG Australia National Leader of Consumer Markets said: “When you include different types, alcohol is third behind Women’s apparel and books/music. This shows the success of the likes of Vinomofo, Langton’s, Dan Murphys’s online as well as winemakers selling online themselves and shows a route for other traditional retailers looking to reinvent their route to market.”

“Another interesting finding is that alongside LATAM countries, Australia and New Zealand are the only countries where bricks and mortar retailers e-stores are more popular than online only sites. This shows that the trust and brand equity built by traditional retailers still holds sway in the digital age. For prominent Australian brands, there is an opportunity to diversify and retain market share by focusing on creating a holistic approach to retail across physical and digital storefronts.”

“It is also interesting that only 24 percent saw the product in store prior to purchase, with 72 percent performing an online search for reviews and recommendations prior to purchase. This confirms that many purchase decisions are informed by the recommendations of others, in most instances complete strangers. On average, Australians spent 1.2 hours researching online prior to buying.”

“The Australian retail landscape is still very much driven by price and promotion, with 38 percent of final online purchase decisions being motivated by price/promotion compared to a global average of 27 percent. 39 percent of Australian online purchases were from the site with the cheapest price confirming our propensity to shop around on price,” he said.

Further information

Ashford Pritchard
T: 0411 020 680

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