Online shopping wins wallets

Online purchasing in Australia has increased from 2 per cent of Internet users in 1997 to 14 per cent in 2000, according to the latest research from Internet research and audience analyst Red Sheriff.

The company's second annual e-commerce report ‘1999-2000 E-commerce Report: A User Perspective', also states that almost half (46 per cent) of Australian Internet window shoppers made purchases from Australian vendors in the past year. This is up from 34 per cent in 1998.

According to survey responses, the perceived benefits influencing shoppers in buying locally are quicker and cheaper delivery, convenience and easier follow-up (product support).

Ian Lowe, Red Sheriff general manager Australia and New Zealand, said: "The market is now maturing, and with this customer experience and expectations are, and will, continue to increase. To survive in today's online shakeout, e-tailers must focus on more than customer acquisition; they need to build customer retention."

The report stated that online purchasing has increased over the past 12 months from 19 per cent of Internet users, to 25 per cent. The frequency of purchases was also increasing, with four out of 10 online shoppers purchasing in the month prior to the survey.

Some 63 per cent of Internet users browsed products including big-ticket items such as motor vehicles, holiday packages and rental properties. Other popular products included airline tickets, clothing and sporting goods. However, when it comes to buying over the Internet, Aussies retreat from the big-ticket items to products such as books and CDs.

Males have clearly taken the lead in online shopping, the report showed, with 31 per cent saying they have purchased products, versus 18 per cent for females. However, females shopping via the Internet have increased greatly from last year.

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