June 18, 2018

How We Shop: Trends in Aussie Shopping Behaviour

Topic: Special Poll
Finding No: 7627
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The way we buy goods and services has changed and adapted over the years, from the traditional brick-and-mortar and catalogue purchases, to the ‘TV Special’ over-the-phone deals and, most recently, online stores and auction houses. While physical stores are still the prevailing option for some industries, such as grocery, and there are clear signs that people are not going to stop visiting shops, Australians are embracing the benefits of an online marketplace.

Roy Morgan has already found that online shopping is growing strongly, with key industries and companies looking to take advantage of 9.46 million Australians shopping online, more than half a million more than 12 months prior. But where is this increase in demand coming from? Which consumers have decided to take the plunge and take advantage of all that online shopping has to offer? Interestingly, while all demographics are recording a positive growth rate, the strongest growth is from the less affluent demographics. Australians in the FG Socio-Economic Quintile, those classified as Light Spenders, and those belonging to the Roy Morgan Value Segments “Fairer Deal” (9.5ppts increase) and “Something Better” (15ppts increase) all recorded higher growth rates of internet shopping between March 2015 and March 2018 than their wealthier counterparts.
Not only that, the late adopters of the technology community are also now the highest growing demographic for online shopping. Referring to our Technology Adoption Segments, Technology Traditionalists (those who will only try a new technology when it’s become mainstream) recorded a growth of 7ppts, while Technophobes grew by 7.1ppts, the highest of all segments. Comparatively, the Technology Early Adopters saw a growth of only 3.9ppts, and Digital Life (mostly tech-savvy students and young part-time workers) just 4ppts.

Distribution of Technology Adoption Segments across the Population

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, April 2017 - March 2018, 
Base: Australians aged 14+. n=15,067.

This being said, the growth in online shopping among late technological adopters means more for some industries than others. The industries in which Technophobes are most prominent include Pet Products, of which they comprised 9.8% of the online market, Health & Beauty (9.6%), Automotive (9.5%), Fashion (9.2%) and Home & Garden (9.1%). For Technology Traditionalists, they are most prominent in Pet Products (27.1%), Automotive (25.1%), Baby Products (25.0%), Home & Garden (22.0%) and Health & Beauty (21.3%).

Interestingly, Pet Products, Health & Beauty, and Fashion were some of the strongest online growth industries reported by Roy Morgan between March 2015 and March 2018, and each of those industries has a notable proportion of Technology Traditionalists or Technophobes.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says:

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“Online shopping has been revolutionising the way we shop for the last two decades, and more and more Australians have begun embracing the convenience, range, ease and value that come with it. As technology becomes more readily available and easy to use, and as industry giants such as Amazon begin catering to the local Australian market, it’s predicted that an even greater share of the market will find itself being traded online.

“This trend in the growth of online shopping demographics is very significant. Those demographics which have less disposable income, those who consider themselves light spenders and those who shy from new technology are the strongest growing segments. This may be surprising for some; wouldn’t those with more money to spend be flocking to online shopping? The truth of the matter is, they already have. 80.1% of people in the highest income quintile purchased at least one product online in an average three months, as well as 83% of technology early adopters. Historically, they’ve been the ones at the front of the online shopping movement, with the technology and dollars to take advantage of being able to buy just about anything with a few clicks.

“Now, however, the waters have been tested, the process refined, and the warehouses are starting to become local. Previous barriers to entry for lower income demographics have been broken down as the cost of technology has become reasonable and shipping, mostly from America or parts of Asia, has fallen as large retail giants move in on the Australian market. As well as this, devices with intrinsic internet usage and websites with comprehensive user interfaces allow the technophobes of the market an easier passage into online shopping.

“These changes are being seen in the growth of markets where these types of customers are prevalent. Health & Beauty has grown by 34.4% and Pet Products by 55.1%, no doubt fuelled in part by increased online participation by the Technology Traditionalists and Technophobes.

“It has never been more important to understand your customers. Roy Morgan is able to provide the detailed understanding and analysis of those that are shopping online and what is driving that activity.  Given that still less than half of those lower income earners and late tech adopters are shopping online at least semi-frequently, businesses that move early to take advantage of this currently under-represented demographic may well benefit in future as the growth of those demographics onto the online marketplace continues to rise.”

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309

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
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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