Rakuten Marketing today launched the second edition of their ‘APAC State of e-Commerce’ report, revealing some surprising insights into Australia’s online purchasing habits.

The report delves into the online shopping behaviours and preferences of 500 consumers in each of the nine key markets within APAC - Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and New Zealand.

This is the second year the report has been conducted with results from Japan and Indian markets added in 2019.

Findings reveal Australia lags behind in the global e-Commerce space. Only 36% of total shopping is transacted online in Australia, considerably lower compared to the average 47% seen throughout the rest of APAC.

High shipping costs were revealed to be the number one contributor holding Australians back from online shopping. Up 14% from last year, 52% claim this is a major deterrent alongside concerns over returning items (27%), lack of payment security (22%) and website legitimacy (22%).

Of the Australians making online purchases, transactions are primarily taking place on desktop (50%), followed by mobile (36%) and tablet (14%). 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% across the rest of the region.

When deciding where to shop, both Australian and APAC consumers as a whole are mainly driven by price-point (81.3% and 80.9% respectively). Other key factors encouraging Australian consumers to purchase online include variety of products on offer (63%), delivery times (55%), and website usability (50%). Twenty percent of consumers are influenced by the availability of vouchers & promotions, and 16% by the availability of cashback and rewards.

Additionally, the majority of online purchases are being spent on travel (14%), groceries and household goods (12%) and female fashion (10%).

Of particular interest to marketers, online search proved to be the most popular method of brand discovery with 77% of respondents stating as preference, followed by family and friends (35%) and social media (27%). Surprisingly, Australian consumers also revealed they discover new brands via deal and coupon sites (15%) and cashback and reward sites (9%).
Once connected with a brand, Australians choose to engage primarily via Facebook (29%), followed by email (28%) and Instagram (20%). Interestingly, a mere 3% of Aussies engage with brands via Snapchat.

Commenting on the research findings, Rakuten Marketing international MD Anthony Capano said the results hold lessons for retailers.

“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% of all retail sales. The APAC market, including Australia, presents a wealth of opportunities for brands and retailers looking to enter the region.

“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."

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