Online shopping statistics in Australia suggest the country's eCommerce industry looks poised for growth in 2023 despite recessionary trends worldwide.
eCommerce in Australia witnessed robust growth in 2022 and is expected to reach $43.21 billion in sales in 2023. This upward trajectory is expected to continue over the next half a decade, with Australian eCommerce forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.41% over the next four years, clocking sales of $64.18 billion by 2027.1
With more Australians shopping online than ever before, new and emerging retail businesses searching for growth opportunities into the Australian market have much to look forward to.
In 2022, the Australian consumer’s shift towards online shopping became even more pronounced. According to an Australia Post survey, the eCommerce and online shopping industry grew (PDF download) at 23.4%, while the non-food retail market grew by only 4.3% year on year.2 The impact of eCommerce on offline businesses in Australia has been significant, and it is likely to continue to shape the retail landscape in the years to come.
With over 9 million Australian shoppers purchasing physical goods online, businesses have now increasingly become aware of how and where consumers buy.2 This boom in domestic eCommerce in Australia points to greater opportunities for new and established brands as this growth is set to continue.
With this in mind, we look at some key Australia eCommerce statistics, so brands and advertisers can leverage emerging eCommerce trends.
eCommerce and Online Shopping Statistics in Australia in 2023
1. The Evolving, Post-Pandemic Australian eCommerce Experience
The pandemic led to a closure of physical stores and a corresponding surge in online purchases. Many feared that this may have been a temporary phenomenon, and that eCommerce may not be able to sustain the high-levels of growth it witnessed during 2020-2021.
However, Australian online shopping increased by 12.3% year on year in 2021-2022, the last full year of available data, underscoring the fact that strong eCommerce growth is here to stay. 2 New markets are emerging, while existing markets continue to demonstrate the potential for further development.
In addition to Australia’s domestic sector, East and Southeast Asian markets are also expected to contribute to this growth, given the dense linkages these regions have with the Australian economy.
2. Key eCommerce Statistics
Here’s a summary extracted from the voluminous eCommerce statistics Australia generates each calendar year to provide advertisers and affiliates a bird’s-eye view of the lay of the land:
- Australian customers are demonstrating new online shopping behaviour as 30.3% of consumers are purchasing products online through social media.3
- More than 60% of Australian consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable and ethically made products.2
- Over 31% of online shoppers intend to purchase Australian-made products from retailers.2
- Nearly half of the small businesses in Australia have pivoted their approach to business in response to the pandemic, with a distinct shift towards online shopping to maintain market share.4
- User penetration will be 76% in 2023 and is expected to hit 77.6% by 2027.1
- Australian customers are expected to spend $43.20 billion buying products online. Out of this figure, fashion is expected to contribute the largest chunk at $16.98 billion followed by Toys, Hobby and DIY at $ 12.21 billion and electronics at $9.78 billion.1
3. Implications for Retailers and Advertisers
Although large businesses were the first to capitalise on the large-scale shift of shopping habits from offline to the online space in the immediate aftermath of Covid-19, smaller advertisers and businesses too are now following suit.
Growth in online shopping in Australia has significantly outpaced that of traditional retailers with increased internet and broadband penetration. Consumer acceptance of online shopping websites as viable and safe alternatives to conventional shopping centres has aided online shopping.
Industry operators have benefited from consumers seeking variety and value, particularly in a period of declining discretionary incomes over the past five years.
Thus, even though month on month sales declined in December 2022, online retail sales continued to grow by 1.2% year on year in the same period. (PDF download).2
Following large business chains, smaller retailers and advertisers are now expected to form the backbone of future growth.
4. Profitability and Barriers to Entry
Globally, the eCommerce industry's profitability has decreased over the last five years due to the intense rivalry between industry operators and foreign online retailers.5 Start-up and maintenance costs for major websites and high competition in the industry have kept profit margins low. Even large eCommerce platforms such as Amazon are struggling to keep their online retailing businesses profitable.6
However, the cost of creating a website may be relatively low for smaller enterprises. As a result, the industry has had a substantial influx of new entrants over the last five years. Major global online players have also joined the marketplace. These include Amazon, which launched its Australian operations in December 2017.
5. Digital Marketing Spend Remains Consistent
Australian businesses are projected to spend $12.17 billion on digital marketing in 2023.7 The pandemic led to an average 6% jump in online marketing expenditure, with most sectors increasing emphasis on their digital presence. In 2023, this increased attention to digital marketing continues to be the preferred strategy of most online retailers.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales being a primarily online affair in Australia compared to their American counterparts, digital marketing in addition to major sale events throughout the year will allow retailers to capitalise on consumer interest.8
The food & beverage industry is an example of this. More than 60% of small food and beverage companies now spend more than 80% of their marketing budget online, compared to less than half before the pandemic.
6. The Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) Revolution
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) arrangements enable customers to shop online and repay the amount owed over set instalments (many without interest charges or account keeping fees).
Digital wallets are now finding widespread acceptance the world over. Digital wallet users globally are expected to top the 5 billion mark by 2026, a massive 53% rise from 3.4 billion users in 2022.9 This trend is reflected among Australian shoppers too. Nearly 53% of Australian consumers reported using digital wallets in November 2022.10
Cashing in on the BNPL trend, companies such as AfterPay, ZipPay, Klarna, Openpay, Humm, Laybuy and other provide a digitised version of what is known colloquially in Australia as "lay-by”, through a simple yet intuitive integration with eCommerce platforms.
According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, there are 7 million active BNPL accounts, representing up to 30% of the Australian population. Australians are leading consumers of BNPL services globally with total transactions amounting to AU$16 billion in the 2021-2022 financial year.11
The retail payments market continues to change with an increase in innovation, competition and technological advances allowing eCommerce stores to entice purchasers and drive sales through flexible payment facilities.
7. eCommerce - Not Just for Millennials and Gen Z
Convenience and accessibility have always been two of the main drivers behind the growth of eCommerce transactions in Australia across the demographic divide.
An August 2022 survey found that nearly 86% of shoppers aged between 30 and 39 had made an online purchase of a non-grocery item every month over the past year.12 This number came down to 66% for those aged between 60 and 70.
Advertisers will need to formulate and customise new marketing campaigns for this older audience's continued loyalty. They will need to consider programs such as loyalty schemes, subscription models and personalised messaging to bring a wider demographic on to online marketplaces from retail shops.
8. Sustainable Shopping
Sustainable and ethical shopping is at the forefront of Australian shoppers' minds with a noticeable trend towards conscious consumerism. Australian consumers are more likely to buy goods that are ethically and sustainably sourced.
People want marketers, retailers, and brands to be more transparent about their products' sources and sustainability and engage in ethical practices.
9. Click and Collect
Express delivery services have become the norm for many Australians who do most of their shopping online. Click and collect has arisen in every industry, including fashion, groceries, and liquor, with more customers wanting their purchases right away.
In a world where people engage in online transactions to avoid large crowds, but want to receive their goods as soon as possible, Click and Collect is an excellent option for the eCommerce industry. It's an alternative to express shipping and can often provide the customer base with options based on personal preference.
10. Social Shopping
In 2022, Australians spent on average two hours a day on social media.13 Advertisers and eCommerce retailers in Australia have realised the importance of connecting with their customers through these social channels and have placed considerable focus on increasing their digital presence over the last decade.
Advertisers leverage these platforms' widespread reach to advertise their best-selling products through paid ads, sponsored posts, and influencer marketing to complete the multi-channel experience for shoppers.
This holistic approach to digital marketing enables advertisers to keep new and recurring customers interested in product releases and promotions and keeps their brand top-of-mind while browsing online.1
Nearly 52.7% of internet users in Australia between 16 and 64 years of age made eCommerce purchases in 2022 and 13.2% have used buy now, pay later services.12
In 2020 alone, social shopping strategy rapidly increased in popularity with partnerships between Shopify and TikTok, Snapchat expanding their Native Stores for brand offerings, and Facebook launching Shops for Facebook and Instagram. By 2024, a total of 6.4 million internet users in Australia are expected to purchase a product through social media.14
Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, social commerce will become an even more integral part of the eCommerce experience for advertisers and shoppers in Australia.
How Fast Is eCommerce Growing in Australia?
Revenue in the eCommerce market is projected to reach $43.21 billion in 2023.1 Here are a few other statistics that give a bird’s eye view of the growth of internet shopping in Australia.
- The eCommerce market's largest segment is Fashion, with revenue projected to grow to AU$15.51 billion in 2023.15
- User penetration is projected to reach 76% of the Australian population in 2023 and this is expected to expand to 77.6% by 2027.1
- The average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to amount to $215,000 this year.1
Outlook On eCommerce Growth - What's Next?
The global eCommerce retail market was given an unprecedented boost by the global pandemic and is set to enjoy robust growth over the next five years. While online sales accounted for 17.8% of retail sales in 2020, that share is projected to climb to 21.9% in 2024.16
Increasing rates of global internet penetration, the emergence of new online stores and the projected growth of global discretionary income will contribute to this uptick.
Australia itself has benefitted from the rollout of the NBN in recent years, which has seen faster broadband speeds offered to a larger percentage of the population. Rising internet penetration, increased transaction security and the steady introduction of 5G should also increase the percentage of potential online shoppers in Australia.
These improvements are anticipated to increase the average spend per customer.
The continued rise of eCommerce in this fast-paced, interconnected world has driven ongoing revenue growth. eCommerce retailers who have adapted quickly to these paradigm shifts in online shopping habits have seen increased profit margins.
Looking forward to 2024 and beyond, it is vital for all advertisers and businesses – both physical and online – to keep track of Australian online shopping statistics.
Advertisers should pay specific attention to industry trends, eCommerce growth, and consumer confidence within their industry to unlock insights and opportunities to increase market share and revenue growth.
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- eCommerce - Australia | Statista
- Inside Australian Online Shopping eCommerce update December 2022 | Auspost
- Australia’s Online Shopping Behaviour Report – 2022 | Savvy
- Online and e-commerce the future for Australian small businesses | Consultancy.com
- As ecommerce is winking, profit margin is shrinking! …and how to deal with it! | SAP
- Amazon would have posted $1.8 billion operating loss in Q4 2021 if not for Amazon Web Services | Geekwire
- Digital Advertising - Australia | Statista
- How to Prepare for a Successful Cyber Weekend in 2022 | Commission Factory
- Digital Wallet Users to Exceed 5.2 Billion Globally by 2026 | Juniper Research
- 79% Australian users use digital wallets as debit/credit cards | Getapp
- Buy now, pay later? Not so fast, as the government looks to tighten regulation by year's end | ABC.net
- Share of people who make purchases online in Australia in 2022, by age and product type | Statista
- Digital 2022: Australia | Datareportal
- Consumers who use social media for online shopping Australia 2020-2024 | Statista
- eCommerce Australia, Fashion | Statista Market Forecast
- E-commerce as percentage of total retail sales worldwide from 2015 to 2026 | Statista