Australian shoppers prefer stores

5 December 2012

SYNDEY: A majority of Australian shoppers would rather make purchases in bricks and mortar stores than on the web, according to a new report.

Ernst & Young, the advisory group, and Quantum Market Research, the insights provider, polled 625 people, and found 66% favoured visiting stores over the internet, while 52% sometimes did not buy online as they have to wait for deliveries.

The analysis also showed only 60% of Australians had completed transactions via the web, with finding information and contacting digital-only vendors the main "sticking points".

"Time is both a key advantage and a key barrier to online," said John Rolland, customer leader, advisory at Ernst & Young. "The key barrier to online is that it doesn't fulfil consumers' need for instant gratification.

"[But] we know Australians are time poor, they're feeling an increasing 'lack of control' over their lives and don't like complex decision-making. This means they default to the simplest tools that help them in their everyday decisions - such as online shopping."

When judging the reputation of businesses, a 47% share of the panel viewed value for money as the most important trait, compared with 24% focusing on whether firms were indigenous.

The attractive characteristics of ecommerce sites included prompt delivery on 30%, offering good deals and prices on 18% and getting orders right at the first time of asking on 14%.

Respondents named eBay and Amazon as the most successful online stores, in front of the ecommerce sites of local bricks and mortar chains, and the equivalent platforms run by international retailers.

The characteristic defining the very best sites were argued to be the product selection on offer, mentioned by 48% of participants, followed by competitive prices.

"The allure of the 'virtual shopping centre' is in its excitement, convenience and the fact it offers a break from a generally homogenous retail environment in Australia," said Rolland.

Overall, a 57% proportion of the sample agreed they would "prefer" to support local sites, but 43% were indifferent on this issue. A further 46% stated that it "didn't matter" where a vendor was based.

The primary issues contributors wanted Australian operators to address were reducing delivery times on 51% and cutting the amount of "hidden" costs and fees on 47%.

Data sourced from Ernst & Young; additional content by Warc staff