Google: Tablets driving online retail

The search engine said there has been a 20 per cent increase in shopping-related searches, year-on-year.

Australian consumers are increasingly using tablets to carry out research for shopping purchases, according to research from Google Australia.

The search giant said there has been a 20 per cent increase in shopping-related searches, year-on-year.

This has been driven by a strong take-up to tablet devices, with nearly 40 per cent of retail searches now carried out on tablets and smartphones, Google Australia said.

“We estimate that … there are nearly 2 million tablets in the market right now and they tend to be sitting around couches. You may have heard the term couch commerce,” Ross McDonald, Google Australia’s industry leader for local and retail, told Computerworld Australia.

"Tablets are playing a really important role in helping people research their products, work out where they want to buy, but also then transact online as well,” he said.

McDonald said it was difficult, though, to determine how much online retail searches were translating into online sales.

“It’s very difficult for us to tell because as soon as you leave Google, you go off into whatever your favourite retailer is and you transact with them. There are no strong third-party statistics that track whether people are actually buying,” he said.

NAB recently reported (PDF) online retail sales were growing. It said year-on-year, online retail sales were up 23 per cent in September this year, with Australia’s online retail sales totalling $12.1 billion.

However, McDonald said bricks and mortar stores are not yet capitalising on online platforms and the use of online resources to help make buying decisions.

“Like many things, just the actual having to change is a barrier, but there’s a lot more momentum that we see – certainly for this Christmas … It’s just a matter of getting the job done and getting it done fast enough,” he said.

One major retailer to recently join the online shopping market has been David Jones, which launched an online shopping platform 7 November this year for desktops and mobile devices.

“It’s still very early days and it’s still in ramp-up phase, but as someone who had been perhaps slow to adopt in the past, to see them come forward with such a good offering is really great news,” McDonald said.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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