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online shopper

Australian shoppers love online shopping

For the 12 months to March 2018 9.46 million Australian shoppers (aged 14+) purchased something online in an average 4 week period (Roy Morgan). This is an increase of 590,000 people in a year and an increase of 2.3 million people since 2014. These numbers highlight that Australian shoppers are changing their buying behaviours to include more online shopping.

Roy Morgan researched over 50,000 consumers, including over 5,000 online shoppers, during the 12 months to March 2018 to get a better understanding of Australian shoppers online shopping behaviour.

What do Australian shoppers buy online?

Roy Morgan estimates that in an average 4 week period:

4.5 million (+11%) purchase Entertainment and Leisure

2.7 million (+21%) purchase Fashion

2.4 million (+8%) purchase Food and Beverages

2.2 million (+4%) purchase Reading Material

1.8 million (+7%) purchase Electronics

1.5 million (+11%) purchase Travel Products

1.4 million (+21%) Health and Beauty products

These statistics highlight that it is now common for Australian shoppers to purchase a wide variety of items online. Historically Australian shoppers were reluctant to purchase some items online. For example, many Australian shoppers would not purchase fashion items online as they wanted to try the item on in a store first. Possibly due to changes in how online retailers operate, e.g. Amazon offers a 30 day guarantee, now Australian shoppers are more likely to purchase these items online.

 “The data is unequivocal – Australians can’t get enough of shopping online. In any given four-week period, more and more of us are purchasing products as diverse as entertainment, clothing, food, reading matter, health and beauty products, furniture and electronics via the internet.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine

Which Australian shoppers buy online?

Generally speaking, historically Australians that are tech savvy and wealthy were more likely to buy online … but that is changing now.

Roy Morgan groups Australian shoppers into Technology Adoption Segments. According to Roy Morgan 35.5% of Australians (aged 14+) could be labelled tech savvy and they account for about half (49.1%) of the shoppers buying online. At the other end of the spectrum ‘technophobes’ account for 15.3% of the general population but only 8% of online shoppers.

Today the late adopters are the fastest growing demographic for online shopping as online shopping becomes more ‘mainstream’. The ‘technology traditionalists’ grew 7 points and the ‘technophobes’ grew 7.1 points.

Roy Morgan research has also highlighted a lot of the growth in Australian online shopping is coming from the less affluent. Roy Morgan classified consumer groups of ‘fairer deal’ (+9.5 points) and ‘something better’ (+15 points) recorded higher growth rates of internet shopping than their wealthier counterparts between March 2015 and March 2018.

These statistics highlight that all Australian shoppers are now shopping online more. The technology is now becoming ‘mainstream’ and people that were once reluctant to shop online are more likely to shop online today.

‘Previous barriers to entry for lower income demographics have been broken down as the cost of technology has become reasonable and shipping, mostly from America or parts of Asia, has fallen as large retail giants move in on the Australian market. As well as this, devices with intrinsic internet usage and websites with comprehensive user interfaces allow the technophobes of the market an easier passage into online shopping’.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine

How do Australian shoppers pay online

Roy Morgan research highlighted that over 14.5 million Australian shoppers (aged 14+) use digital payment solutions in a 12 month period. Roy Morgan groups the different types of digital payment into:

Bill Payment, e.g. BPay, which 11.9 million Australian shoppers use in a 12 month period

Online Payment, e.g. PayPal, which 8.8 million Australian shoppers use in a 12 month period

Contactless / Cardless Mobile Payments, e.g. Apple Pay, which 2.4 million Australian shoppers use in a 12 month period

Buy Now Pay Later, e.g. afterpay, which 1.2 million Australian shoppers use in a 12 month period

The most used digital payment solution was BPay with 53% of Australians using it in a 12 month period, then PayPal at 41%.

When Australian shoppers were grouped by age surprisingly the young generation (14 – 24 years old) had the lowest use of digital payment, 52.7% of the group (table below).

Percentage using Digital Payments in the past 12 months

Age Group% using digital payments
14 – 24  52.7%
25 – 34  78.5%
35 – 49  81.3%
50 – 64  78.2%
65+  63.0%

Source: Roy Morgan

Some other general observations from the research include

  • Women are more likely to use a Bill Payment Service
  • Men are more likely to use Contactless / Cardless Mobile Payment
  • Young people (14 – 24) are least likely to use a Bill Payment Service
  • Commbank Tap & Pay was the most used Contactless / Cardless Mobile Payment solution

“The way in which we make payments is evolving quickly. Tech companies, financial institutions and start-ups are competing to create ever-increasingly frictionless payment experiences for consumers. These digital payments not only help the consumer with a quicker and more convenient way to pay, but also provide businesses with rich data on what the consumers are purchasing, how they are purchasing it, and where.”

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine

The key message for Australian business owners is that Australian shoppers are shopping online more today, so you need to ensure your business is able to meet your customers online shopping demands.


The information provided in this blog post was general in nature. If you require more information I offer a free initial consultation by completing a contact us form.

Thank you,

Tim Bowen