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Online shopping on the rise for most retail categories

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2014-December 2014 (n=15,944).

The latest data from Roy Morgan Research reveals that the online shopping juggernaut continued its upward trajectory last year, with 7,630,000 Australians aged 14+ (almost 40% of the population) buying one or more products via the internet in an average four weeks. This was a sizeable increase on 2011, when 5,704,000 people made online purchases per average four weeks.

All of the top 10 online retail categories have increased in popularity since 2011. Most notable was Food and Beverages, which saw a huge proportional increase in online shoppers. In 2011, 568,000 Australians bought one or more products from this category in an average four weeks — a figure that almost tripled to 1,586,000 in 2014.

Reading Material was another one: 2,016,000 Australians purchased something from this category in an average four weeks last year, up from 1,095,000 in 2011. The number who bought Fashion online also rose (from 1,062,000 to 1,936,000 people), as did those purchasing Fashion Accessories (up from 210,000 to 495,000).

Ten most popular online shopping product categories in 2014


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2014-December 2014 (n=15,944).

Geoffrey Smith, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Purchased by 40% of the country’s internet shoppers in an average four weeks, Entertainment and Leisure items (shows, movie tickets, events etc) are showing no sign of being challenged for top spot as Australia’s most popular online shopping category. However, it was not the fastest growing online retail category over the last four years.

”That honour belongs to Food and Beverages, a category spanning alcohol, groceries and fast food. As we reported last year, buying alcohol online is becoming increasingly popular. Last year, 577,000 Aussie adults bought alcohol over the internet in any given four weeks — comprising more than a third of the total people who purchased anything from the Food and Alcohol category.

“Our latest data indicates that Australian consumers' online shopping habits are evolving, with some categories gaining favour and others plateauing. Roy Morgan Single Source data not only tracks who is buying what online, but how much they’re spending. Our in-depth profiles contain insights to help your business stay competitive in this ever-changing marketplace.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%