In the 12 months to September 2014, 38 per cent of Australians aged 14 plus bought one or more products over the internet in an average four week period.
Almost two thirds of them, 64 per cent purchased locally, while 39 per cent bought from overseas websites.
Only six out of 51 product categories were more commonly purchased from overseas websites: video games and consoles, e-books, books, jewellery and watches, TV show downloads, and fashion accessories.
For everything else, from women’s clothing, cosmetics and skincare, to toys, travel and homewares, local websites come out on top.
The top selling products locally are tickets to movies, shows and other events, purchased by 830,000 Australians in an average four weeks.
This was followed by travel items such as tickets and accommodation, purchased by 785,000 people, and fast food and meals, purchased by 569,000 people, all of which would usually be impractical or inappropriate to buy via foreign websites.
E-books and books are the most popular items bought from overseas online retailers, no doubt due to the low prices offered on websites like Amazon and the Book Depository compared with those of Australian retailers.
Geoffrey Smith, GM consumer products, Roy Morgan Research, says the internet has revolutionised the way we shop, giving us unprecedented access to the global marketplace.
“Much of the retail conversation over the last few years has focused on women’s fashion. The race for Australian stores to develop an online presence so they can compete with well established overseas competitors has received much coverage and commentary.
“In the midst of all this focus on women’s fashion, it looks like the new fashion battleground may be for men’s clothing. With a higher ranking on the overseas online stores’ list and nearly as many customers, it could be the category that local retailers need to watch.
“With overseas markets more accessible than ever via online shopping, it’s crucial for local online and traditional retailers to stay abreast of consumers’ shifting needs, expectations and preferences. Roy Morgan Single Source data tracks who is shopping where for what, as well as how much is being spent online. Our online store provides a comprehensive range of profiles, containing insights to help your business stay competitive in this ever changing marketplace.”
Top selling products bought on Australian and overseas websites in an average 4 weeks:
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2013 to September 2014.