Australia's Ecommerce Remains Tethered to the PC

Most digital shoppers still make purchases on a desktop or laptop

Author: Rahul Chadha

August 14, 2017

The mobile ecommerce revolution has yet to reach Australia’s shores, according to new research from fulfillment and shipping company Temando.

In a survey of digital buyers in the country from February 2017, the firm found that two-thirds of digital buyers primarily use a PC or laptop to shop online.

That puts Australia at a stark contrast to many of its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region, but for good reason. In emerging economies such as India and Indonesia, the smartphone is the main vehicle for internet adoption. However, Australia is a market where many residents first gained internet access via fixed-line broadband, leaving many consumers more comfortable shopping on PCs and laptops.

Australia will see decent growth in its retail ecommerce sales over the next few years. eMarketer estimates that retail ecommerce sales in Australia will total $20.15 billion this year, accounting for 7.3% of all retail sales. Those figures will jump to $28.91 billion and 9.7% by 2021, the end of our forecast period.

However, Temando noted that one obstacle to the growth of Australia’s ecommerce sector might lie with new expectations related to shipping. The survey found that 65% of respondents indicated they had abandoned their shopping carts when confronted with expensive shipping. In addition, 40% stopped shopping when they realized there was no free shipping.

Amazon Prime, which has effectively ended shipping cost considerations for many shoppers in other markets, is not yet available in Australia. Indeed, Amazon’s offerings on its Australian site are limited to media.

Nevertheless, Amazon was the No. 3 retail site in Australia according to Hitwise data for March 2017.

Amazon began offering web services in the country in 2012 , then rolled out its Kindle store in 2013.

It wasn’t until April of this year that Amazon confirmed plans to launch its marketplace service in Australia , through which it offers logistics support and advertising for third-party merchants. However, the company has not yet detailed any plans for managing its own inventory in the country, or whether it will launch its Prime subscription service there.