When to buy: online shoppers are better than brick-and-mortar retailers
Online shoppers are more efficient at sourcing and making purchases than brick and mortar retailers, according to new research.
The findings show shoppers are getting better at shopping, but it also raises questions about the future of the brick-to-mortgage business, which is struggling to find customers online.
The study, conducted by the Australian National University and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, was released on Monday.
“Online shopping is becoming increasingly more efficient,” said Dr James Dutton, lead author and research fellow at the Australian University.
“The trend is for retailers to be more efficient in terms of making purchases and in terms a way of ensuring their online stores are accessible.”
Online shopping has been a major battleground for online retailers, with companies such as Amazon and eBay offering deals on items from some of the largest names in the industry.
There are still some big questions surrounding the future.
How much will online shopping improve the quality of life for consumers?
Can we rely on retailers to have enough stock of goods in their online shop?
Will online shopping have a long-term impact on the industry?
Will it change the way the industry works?
The answers are likely to depend on how much it improves consumer satisfaction, according the study.
It found that online shoppers were significantly better at making purchases, spending more and getting what they want.
But online shopping is also being used by people to access goods that are far less readily available at their local stores, Dr Dutton said.
“There is a trend to look for online purchases as an alternative to shopping in the physical world.”
“So people are shopping in online shopping for a number of reasons,” he said.
Online shoppers spend a lot more than those who shop in physical stores.
Dr Durden said that people spend more than 50 per cent more on online purchases than those buying physical goods, and that many online shoppers have already paid for some of these items online.
“In other words, a lot of people are not buying physical items because they can afford them,” he told the ABC.
“So they’re using online shopping as a means of access to those goods.”
But Dr Danton’s research suggests that while consumers will still be able to buy goods from brick and mortars, online shopping could change how the industry operates.
He said the research suggests people would prefer shopping online because of the convenience and the ability to order online.
But while consumers may be more willing to pay for items online, Dr Sullenbark said that there was still some concern about the effect of online shopping on the retail business.
“The key question that we want to answer is: how much does online shopping really help the industry?” she said.
“And it is hard to tell.”
Dr Sullens research suggests the majority of online shoppers will still use physical stores for most of their purchases.
But she said online shopping was becoming more convenient for consumers, and there was room for retailers like Amazon and Ebay to improve their online shopping experience.
She said online shoppers should also be wary of the effects of digital shopping on their physical shopping experience, such as the loss of physical inventory.
“If you buy a pair of jeans online, it is not just that you have lost a pair, it’s that you’re missing out on the opportunity to have a pair made in Australia,” Dr Sullybark told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“You’re missing the opportunity for that pair to be made in the first place.”
Online shopping could also affect the way people buy goods online.
The Australian Bureau for Statistics (ABS) conducted a survey of 1,002 Australians last year and found that almost half of respondents (49 per cent) had purchased goods online and one in four (24 per cent), were planning to do so.
And Dr Sillenbarks research suggests online shopping will become more important for people buying goods online than physical stores, because they are less likely to need to spend time looking for goods online before they buy.
“Online shoppers are likely already shopping at a higher rate than they would be buying physical,” Dr Dison said.
He said online sales were growing at a rate of 1.8 per cent per year.
“But they are growing at such a faster rate than physical sales, which may be a bit worrying,” he added.