Online spending to hit $30 billion

Australians will spend $30.2 billion online by the end of this year according to a report released Tuesday.

The PayPal-sponsored report, prepared in partnership with the Australian Centre for Retail Studies, Forrester Research and Nielsen, projects further growth in online spending by Australians of 12.2 per cent next year and will total $37.7 billion by 2013.

The report, Secure Insight: Changing the Way we Pay, concluded Australian online commerce is undergoing “monumental change”, largely driven by a transforming retail environment, where merchants and consumers are harnessing new technologies to connect in new ways.

Just three per cent of Australians have not yet bought a product or service online according to the report.

While 63 per cent of Australians have shopped on overseas websites, the vast majority of their online spending by value – 73 per cent – is headed to Australian websites.

Frerk-Malte Feller, MD of PayPal Australia, said the industry has seen more changes in the way people shop and pay in the last year than during the last 15.

“The culmination of new technologies and new business models are radically altering the retail landscape as we know it. Consumers are connecting through local, digital, social and mobile channels that add relevance and convenience to their lives. These emerging channels bring huge opportunities for local Australian merchants to compete in the online market and increase engagement with their customers.”

With internet-enabled smartphones now accounting for nearly two thirds of the Australian handset market, they are “disrupting both the traditional and online retail environments,” said Feller.

“Australians are heavy users of mobile phones to transact, with PayPal Australia seeing mobile payments on a steep trajectory of 430 per cent year on year.

“Smartphones are accelerating the path to purchase by becoming a virtual store in our pockets, enabling consumers and merchants to connect in new ways. Through new technologies merchants have opportunities to fast track the ‘place’ of purchase and generate new revenue streams.

“In the last year we have seen a wealth of new business models emerge, that are re-defining the point of purchase. For example, QR codes allow traditional media to become a virtual storefront, social media and group buying allow merchants to interact with consumers in new ways and mobile applications are personalising consumers shopping experiences.”

PayPal’s report also reveals a changing attitude amongst consumers when it comes to making payments. According to the research, consumers feel the choice of payment method is not theirs to make, with retailers restricting choices. Regularly having to switch between payment methods depending on the product they are purchasing, 40 per cent of consumers desire a simpler payment solution.

Feller concluded: “New business models, new technologies and a new consumer have changed the face of both the retail and payments landscape, changing the way we shop and pay.

“Our role is to provide our 4 million active account holders and 40,000 merchant partners with simple, secure and convenient payment solutions. Whilst the growth and innovations we have seen in the last year have been phenomenal, this is just the beginning as we continue on a journey that is set to change the way we shop and pay forever.”

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