In an opinion piece published in the Australian Financial Review, Dr Scott Ewing from the CCI at Swinburne University says Australian retailers are widely believed to have stumbled online, but half of all purchasing is done on local websites.
The embarrassing failure of Myer’s website through the post-Christmas sale period reinforces a widely held view that Australia’s large retailers have struggled to adapt to the online environment. The reasons put forward for this perceived failure include an uncompetitive retail environment, retailers who are also major retail property owners and the highly geographically-concentrated distribution of Australian consumers that has enabled major retailers to develop networks of stores that reach a large proportion of the available market.
While doubts exist about Australian retailers, there are few doubts regarding Australian shoppers. Australian consumers have embraced online retail and there is no sign that this is abating. We have conducted four surveys between 2007 and 2013 and there has been growth in activity in each period. Between 2009 and 2011 there was a levelling off of growth but the period 2011 to 2013 again saw a strong increase in activity.