The state of e-commerce in Australia

The state of e-commerce in Australia

Summary: Research by Roy Morgan has shown that online shopping continues to rise in Australia. Almost half of all Australians have bought something online, with travel the most popular product.


Research by Roy Morgan has shown that online shopping continues to rise in Australia. Almost half of all Australians have bought something online, with travel the most popular product.

Trailing a long way behind is supermarket shopping. Only 1.2 per cent of us had bought groceries online in the three months prior to the survey.

So why are some products more popular than others? The proposition for buying food online is very compelling. You avoid the nightmare of long queues and screaming children. Yet it seems that isn't enough for a public conditioned to think that online should always be cheaper than buying in-store.

On today's Twisted Wire we look at the state of e-commerce in Australia. Impressive though the growth figures are, we still lag behind other countries. Why is that?

On the programme we'll hear from:

  • Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research
  • Robbie Cooke, CEO of Wotif
  • Alan Long, Research Director Asia Pacific for Experian Hitwise
  • Duncan Kirk, Head of Merchandising & Marketing at
  • Stewart Carter, publisher of

We also look at the contenders for the Australian Interactive Multimedia Association's AMBER eCommerce Awards. The winner is announced next month. I wonder whether, if these are the best sites we have, does that show why more people aren't shopping online?

Topics: Browser, Broadband, E-Commerce


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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  • australia is full of ignorant bogans

    The reason that Australia is so far behind is that australian bogans would rather throw their weight around in a supermarket, smack their kids over the head in front of everyone and yell back and forth to eachother across the store. And how would they be able to dispute every price that is displayed on the checkout persons screen (due to them reading the promotion information incorrectly) if they shop online?

    Plus they would have to figure out how to open their internet browser first! Which probably takes 2 hours to open due to all the viruses, spyware and other crap they have accumulated on their computer.

    No. I don't see e-commerce picking up any time soon in this country in the future. It's a shame that such a beautiful country is full of such backward, ugly, meathead people. So foul and disgusting.
  • australia is full of ignorant bogans

    Thank you for your comments Mr. Crowe.
  • Mr. Crowe, ha

    You're right Mr. Crowe.

    It's a shame that such a beautiful country is full of such backward, ugly, meathead people. So foul and disgusting.

    Please take yourself and your offspring elsewhere, problem solved.
  • er

    .... back on the subject guys
  • state of ecomm is aus

    Russell, if you unpack some of what he says, has a very valid point about what is holding eCommerce back in Australia - if you can strip out the emotional and offensive statements - he does make some good points....Australians love to go to the shops and don't take the necessary precautions on their home PC and then have the perception shopping online is unsafe...
  • Did you get out of the wrong side of the bed or are you talking through you wallet or both!

    What planet are you living on. Maybe the universe doesn't actually revolve around you.
  • Agreed

    There's definitely a stigma for many Australian's around purchasing anything online. My mother for example won't do it because she doesn't trust that her financial details will be safe.

    I think it will take a long time for these people to come around and realise that, if done right, they can have a very enjoyable experience purchasing things online.
  • Maybe

    If business want e-commerce to succeed then they need to step up and take control. Offer services that people want, provide mechanisms for payment that are safe. Ensure decent delivery costs, in short, make it easy for people.

    My family don't buy grocery items online as we have had bad experiences in the past. Fruit & veg are a waste of time as everyone has a different idea of whats good or bad and how much for a week.

    Then again, maybe people just are not interested in shopping online. There is no tactile feedback and its a sterile environment. Half the fun of shopping is wandering about looking at things, people and places.
  • Online Shopping

    I found this very interesting - can't wait for the Australian market to experience growth. It looks like consumer confidence building which is very positive for all online retailers. I have two online retail businesses (both very new) and have decided to offer free shipping to all customers after listening to this. In my markets - niche and middle market, no other retailer offers free shipping.
  • I Love e-commerce in Australia

    As a Lover of the Internet I have enjoyed shopping online myself for many years eg Amazon of course. Since then I have started a few web sites to encourage this and maybe some $$ in return. Aussie Shopping Mall has a Monster Mall which Links of Australian sites. This gives Shoppers many choices. Protection for shoppers comes from Paypal and credit card Protection Laws.
    As another site I have started is Aussie Shopping Site which Women would like with perfumes,clothing etc
  • I don't get it...

    My husband and complain about this all the time. We currently live in the US and buy tons of stuff online all the time, mostly from Amazon. Our family in Australia buy stuff from for our kids for Christmas and birthdays too. Why isn't Target in Australia online? And what about Kmart and Big W for crying out loud. It's ridiculous. Australia had eftpos at places like McDonalds and taxis years before we did in the states, so why can't they get it together with e-commerce. And I know VERY few people who shop groceries online, I don't think that will ever gain in popularity.