54% of Australian SMBs using e-commerce make 95% of online sales to local customers

By @vitthernandez on
Online Retailers
Websites of online retailers Booktopia, DealsDirect and StrawberryNet are seen on a computer screen in Singapore January 24, 2011. Reuters/Tim Chong

Using e-commerce has boosted online sales of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in Australia to increase to 43 percent of total sales from 32 percent the past four years. About 95 percent of their online sales are from local customers.

So far, 54 percent of Australian SMBs are using e-commerce, according to Sensis in its latest e-Business Report. It is the result of ownership of a computer among SMBs reaching 98 percent, up from 88 percent in 2015. About 94 percent own desktops, 49 percent notebooks and 41 percent tablets.

One-fourth of SMBs sell to overseas buyers, but foreign sales account for only 2 percent of their sales. Most of online sellers do not have bricks-and-mortar stores, but those which have a physical store front find it challenging to compete with major overseas retailers which have outlets in key shopping strips, explains Rob Tolliday, commercial director of Sensis, a digital expert.

The study covered 1,000 Australian SMBs and 800 Australian consumers about their online experience. It found that 71 percent of Australians purchased online in 2016, up from 61 percent in 2015. Their online purchases include airline tickets, clothing, accessories, shoes and hotel reservations.

The average Australia online shopper bought an average of $3,300 which is down from $4,400 in 2015. Due to the falling Australian dollar, overseas purchasing from bigger e-commerce sites such as Amazon was steady at less than 25 percent of online buying, Tolliday says.

He adds among the biggest concerns of SMBs is hacking, according to 69 percent of businesses and 85 percent of consumers. “We’ve all had a Nigerian Bank offer us a large sum of money in exchange for personal details and the issues with the recent Census no doubt increased people’s concern about the safety of their information online. Businesses using e-commerce need to ensure their online sales environment is trustworthy and legitimate,” says Tolliday.

VIDEO: Online Shopping in Australia

Source: Paul Harrison