How Do Aussie Shoppers Compare to APAC?

Ally Feiam By Ally Feiam | 04 Oct 2019

This year, the Asia-Pacific region will account for 64 per cent of e-commerce sales worldwide. But do retailers know what this market wants? How does it compare to Australia?

A new report by Rakuten has revealed insights about Australian shopper’s purchase habits and how they compare to Asia-Pacific (APAC).

The report found that Australia ‘lags’ behind the global e-commerce space, with only 36 per cent of total shopping transacted online in Australia. When compared to the 47 per cent in APAC, it’s clear that this is considerably lower.

Mobile vs. Desktop

When compared to Australia, APAC is leading the pack in terms of mobile shopping. Throughout the APAC, 53 per cent of all purchases are conducted in-store. This is then followed by m-commerce, with 21 per cent of shoppers making purchases via mobile. In contrast, a whopping 64 per cent of Aussies prefer to shop in-store.

In Australia, those who shop online mostly stick to desktop shopping, with 50 per cent of transactions taking place via laptop or desktop. In second place is mobile, with 36 per cent of shoppers in Australia purchasing goods via mobile sites or Apps. Lastly, only 16 per cent of Aussies chooses to shop via a tablet.

“The research proves Australia as an outlier to the rest of APAC, with mobile purchases accounting for the largest portion of total online sales, averaging 45 per cent across the rest of the region,” said a spokesperson for Rakuten.

Where Are Customers Buying Products?

Overall, shoppers within the APAC region spend most of their time shopping online for groceries and household goods. In contrast, Australians spend most  (14 per cent) of their money on travel when online shopping. Much like APAC, groceries and household goods come in as the second most popular (12 per cent) option for online shoppers.

“Shoppers in Australia largely prefer to shop from Australian brands than international ones. Preference for Australian brands is strongest in the categories of groceries & household goods (78 per cent),” a Rakuten spokesperson explained.

Aussies according to the report, have very little preference about the brand location for items in the sports and fitness category, as well as men’s fashion, watches and accessories, women’s fashion, games and entertainment, etc. This is due to a high number of international and luxury brands that are not Australian-born or based.

In comparison, groceries, consumer electronics and women’s fashion make up the three focal shares of the online expenditure in China. “Since 2018, there have been changes to the way Chinese consumers are spending online. Both Women and Men’s Fashion were strong performers across all age brackets in 2018. In 2019, Beauty is where young Chinese consumers are spending most of the money online, taking 13 per cent of wallet share from those aged 18-24 and 11 per cent for in the 25-34-year-old bracket.”

How Do Aussies Engage with Brands Compared to APAC?

According to Rakuten, consumers throughout APAC have a higher engagement with local brands than they do with a brand from international waters. For the Chinese market, 83 per cent of the focus is towards local brands and 80 per cent is for international – social media is the leading platform for customer engagement.

In India, a similar pattern arises; 80 per cent of consumers have a higher engagement with local brands, and 78 per cent for international. In contrast, 60 per cent of Australians pull focus on home-grown brands, and 50 per cent focus on global companies.

New Zealand offers the lowest form of engagement, with only 59 per cent focussing on local brands and 54 per cent engaging with international brands. “When looking for new brands or places to shop online, search is the number one method used for discovery across APAC, followed by referrals from friends and family.”

How Can Brands Engage with Customers?

“Engagement with brands amongst Australian consumers is low, with 40 per cent of consumers stating they do not engage with local brands and 50 per cent not engaging with international brands,” said a Rakuten spokesperson.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, according to Rakuten, have a higher engagement rate than other platforms such as email. “When consumers do engage with brands, they tend to do so on Facebook (31 per cent local, 26 per cent international), Instagram (20 per cent local, 19 per cent international) and email (32 per cent local, 23 per cent international). Facebook has overtaken email as the most popular way for Australians to engage with brands in 2019.”

Where is Australia Heading?

“eMarketer is forecasting global e-commerce to exceed $3.5 trillion by the end of the year, and of this, the Asia-Pacific region will drive 64 per cent of all retail sales. The APAC market, including Australia, presents a wealth of opportunities for brands and retailers looking to enter the region,” explained Anthony Capano, the Managing Director of International at Rakuten Marketing.

“The findings of this report will assist brands and marketers in developing a deeper understanding of the nuanced behaviours of consumers within APAC and help identify new opportunities. We hope this report helps businesses make more informed decisions on how to best grow and operate within the region.”

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