Average number of online purchases by Australians up 46.2% over past two years, with monthly value of average purchases climbing 5.8% to AU$218, finds university study; three in 10 Australians shop online at least once a week

December 30, 2013 () – The average number of online purchases by Australians grew 46.2 per cent over the past two years, while the monthly value of average purchases grew by 5.8 per cent to $218, according to the study by Swinburne University of Technology and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovations, which looked at online purchasing habits between 2007 and 2013.

"After an apparent plateau between 2009 and 2011, our latest survey confirms that online shopping by Australian consumers grew strongly again between 2011 and 2013," said Swinburne's Scott Ewing.

The continued surge in internet shopping comes as little surprise to department store Myer, whose website collapsed on Boxing Day, apparently unable to cope with the surge in bargain-hunting traffic. The Myer website remained offline yesterday as the company said it was still facing significant issues and did not want to reopen it to trade until it was confident the problems were fully resolved.

Contrary to the trend in other areas of retail, the survey of 1000 Australians aged 18 or over found men spent more online, averaging $229 a month, while women on average spent $204.

The proportion of Australians now shopping online at least once a week was three in 10, compared with two in 10 New Zealanders and one in 10 Swiss people. "The good news for Australian businesses is that local retailers are maintaining their share of this growth as Australian consumers maintain their strong preference for shopping with domestically based websites," Dr Ewing said.

Figures from the NAB Online Retail Sales Index this month showed domestic retailers controlled the largest share of Australian online sales, at about 73 per cent of the market.

NAB also reported a slowdown in sales to offshore websites, which NAB suggested may be due to the impact of the sliding dollar.

Investors are also watching to see what impact a proposed reduction in the GST-free threshold for purchases made from foreign websites, currently tax-free up to $1000, will have.

The study also showed continued growth in the number of Australians using the internet for financial transactions, with 72 per cent now using it to pay bills, up from 43 per cent in 2007; 73 per cent to make travel bookings, up from 49 per cent; and 65 per cent buying event tickets online, up from 36 per cent.
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