SYDNEY: Australian online shoppers are moving away from a focus on price as a new survey indicates a drop in the popularity of group buying and price comparison sites.

A report from media investment firm Magna Global, The Changing Face of Retail, highlighted changing consumer attitudes to e-commerce and traditional shopping as well as the impact of new technologies on both these.

Victor Corones, Magna Global Australia managing director, noted "some important shifts in retail customer dynamics" as group buying sites, price comparison sites and catalogue aggregator sites declined in popularity by around 9%.

This evidence of a move away from an emphasis on price was backed up elsewhere in the report, as the percentage of people saying they made an attempt to get the best deal dropped from 80% a year ago to 74% this year.

Corones singled out for attention the fact that online and in-store shopping had different patterns across the course of a week. Online shopping peaked on Thursdays and Fridays, while in-store kept its traditional peak time on Saturdays.

"This shift in shopping behaviour is an important detail for marketers and an indication that media dollars should be shifting to meet shoppers' online considerations," he said.

While all online shopping had increased in the course of the previous year, the report said that shopping via mobile devices had risen most quickly. Online shopping using a tablet had leapt 52% in 12 months, while smartphone use was up 19% and that of desktops 11%.

Bricks and mortar stores were far ahead of the online experience, however, when considering brand experience and customer service. The latter, in particular, was a bright spot for traditional retailers as 53% of respondents said they liked to engage with a real person when buying a product, up from 49% a year earlier.

Separately, research from Ipsos MediaCMT, reported by Ad News, indicated that while more than three quarters of Australians (76%) had shopped online in their lifetime, 86% had visited a shopping centre in the previous month.

Some clear targets for marketers also emerged in the finding that shoppers in the 30 to 60 age bracket earning more than A$80,000 were the biggest online shoppers, spending nearly double the average at A$1,900 a month.

Data sourced from Asia Media Journal, Ad News; additional content by Warc staff