Online sales as a percentage of total Australian retail sales will grow from 7% this year to 9.8 % by 2017, research firm Frost & Sullivan predicts.
The firm forecasts total online spending in Australia will amount to A$18.3 billion ($16.7 billion) in 2013, with an average annual spend online per online shopper of A$1,750. Almost 90% of online shoppers expect to increase or at least maintain their online spending over the next 12 months, with the fashion industry one of the main drivers of the growth.
"Overseas retailers such as ASOS and Macy's have been actively targeting the Australian market over the last couple of years. This has increased the overall level of competition in the local online retail market. Local retail chains have also stepped up their online activity, creating increased awareness amongst consumers and increased media coverage of online shopping," said Phil Harpur, senior research manager, Australia & New Zealand ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan.
"Customers have become more comfortable with the online shopping process, including reduced concerns over security and higher levels of confidence in the delivery process, which helps drive growth in online shopping. The strength of the Australian dollar increases purchasing power of local consumers on overseas sites, and has also been a strong driver of growth. However, the recent fall in the value of the Australian dollar will reduce the attractiveness of shopping on overseas sites," he added.
Mobile shopping has already seen widespread uptake in Australia, with 30% of all internet users aged between 15 and 65 purchasing physical goods online via a smartphone during the last 12 months, and 19% via a tablet.
The immediacy of mobile devices, having them available anywhere and anytime, gives online retailers significantly more opportunities to engage shoppers with relevant offers when and where they are making buying decisions, encouraging impulse purchasing. Over half (52%) percent of smartphone users have used their device to find a nearby store and 38% have used it to compare prices before shopping for items.