Pet price comparison app launches to disrupt booming industry

4:27AM | Tuesday, 8 April

Man’s best friend may also be one of man’s best business opportunities, with another startup targeting the pet industry re-launching this week.   With rapidly growing startups in the space like award-winning Paws for Life disrupting the industry, it was only a matter of time before a startup entered the market to enable consumers to make the most of the price competition that’s heating up.   99PetShops is designed to do exactly that. The free web app allows pet owners to compare prices from over 60 online stores.   Cofounder Edward Chan told StartupSmart prices differ significantly, with a popular tick and flea treatment ranging from $79.95 to $144.95.   The idea emerged when his pet pug developed skin problems. He needed lots of different foods and products, and high prices drove Edward online, where he could always find a better deal.   “I could always find a cheaper price online, but there wasn’t a good comparison tool that was comprehensive enough,” Chan says.   A year of building the app in the evenings after clocking off from his full-time job saw him launch the app late last year.   He and cofounder Daniel Ng are planning to charge an affiliate link on each sale, but want to build up their traffic before approaching the stores to discuss the opportunity.   “We’ve got about 20 people using it a day, so it’s a bit of waste at the moment,” Chan says.   They’ve been experimenting with Facebook advertising and want to explore Google AdWords campaigns in the future, but are saving up the budget for it first.   The pet industry is a big one. Market research group IBISWorld says the Australian pet products and services industry earned about $6 billion in revenue last year and has grown by 0.9% each year since 2008.   The industry report also details that over 60% of households own a pet, with over 50% owning either a dog or a cat.

Five industries cashing in on Australia’s soaring divorce rate

4:36AM | Wednesday, 24 April

Legal services, counselling and childcare are just a few of the industries cashing in on Australia’s increasing divorce rate, according to IBISWorld, suggesting there are opportunities for start-ups.   According to IBISWorld, the number of divorces in Australia increased by 8.7% over the past five years – from 47,209 in 2008 to 51,311 in 2013.   Over this period, the total cost of divorce in Australia rose by 13.5% to $184.1 million, while the total cost of contested divorce rose by 14.7% to $155.5 million.   According to IBISWorld general manager Karen Dobie, the average cost of a divorce sits at almost $3600 per couple, while the average cost of a contested divorce is just under $10,000.   Here are the industries cashing in:   Personal legal services   According to IBISWorld, divorce accounts for about 6% of Australia’s personal legal services industry – generating $185 million in revenue each year. “The complexities of divorces – involving the division of assets and the care of children or loved ones – means individuals are inclined to seek the advice of lawyers,” Dobie said in a statement.   “Key services provided by firms specialising in family law include the provision of advice, litigation, alternative dispute resolution and arbitration.”   Counselling   “Making the decision to separate or divorce is often an emotional one. Prior to making the decision, couples may seek marriage counselling,” Dobie said.   “And during or after the process, a growing number of individuals are seeking out help and support from professional counselling services.”   In 2012-13, individual and family support services are anticipated to account for $1.9 billion, or 21.1%, of the personal welfare services industry.   Childcare and babysitting services   The transition from a two-parent to a sole-parent, single-income household can often result in the need to work additional hours and greater difficulties in juggling childcare, IBISWorld said.   This benefits childcare and babysitting services, which are expected to generate revenue of $10.3 billion and $175.2 million respectively in 2012-13.   Online dating   “Over the past five years, online dating has boomed in popularity, particularly among divorcees, resulting in a growing number of sites specialising in getting Aussies back in the game post-split,” Dobie said.   Wedding services   “The increasing number of divorces has resulted in increased takings for Australia’s weddings industry – with about 30% of all marriages involving at least one divorcee,” Dobie said.   “Remarriages, particularly those involving two divorcees, tend to be more subdued affairs – with the big church wedding and sit-down reception often being replaced by a garden setting, celebrant and good-quality catering company.”   Australia’s increasing divorce rate isn’t the only demographic change occurring.   A report recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the number of people working as independent contractors in Australia decreased over the last two years.   In November 2012, almost 980,000 employed people were independent contractors in their main job.   There were 47,000 fewer independent contractors than in November 2011, which was after a decline of 83,600 people between 2011 and 2010.   The industries with the highest proportion of independent contractors were construction (29%), and administrative and support services (21%).   According to census figures, the most common full-time job is technician and tradesperson in the construction industry. There are 333,298 people employed in the role and 99% of them are male.   However, the most common job in Australia is retail sales worker – there are 556,403 retail sales workers in the country and 68% of them are female.

Easter spending set to hit $3bn: Three key trends to get your teeth into

3:37PM | Wednesday, 27 March

Premium chocolate brands and craft beers are among the firm favourites for Easter this year, with Australians set to spend more than $3 billion opting for at-home celebrations over overseas getaways, according to a new report.   IBISWorld says that Australian consumers are opting for a “back to basics” Easter this year, with traditional celebrations at home taking precedence over overseas trips and restaurant meals.   Across the four-day Easter break, IBISWorld forecasts Australians will spend more than $3 billion, equating to $132.85 per capita – a slight increase on the $130.33 per capita Australians spent last year.   The findings are in line with the latest Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence rating, which shows consumer confidence is up to 122 points – 11.4 points higher than at the same time a year ago.   Here are some of the key trends and tips for Easter spending in 2013:   More discerning chocolate-lovers   In 2013, expenditure on chocolate and confectionery is expected to grow by 5.2% to reach $185.7 million.   However, many Australians will choose dark, organic chocolate over traditional favourites.   “Australians are becoming increasingly health conscious – a trend that has resulted in growing demand for low-fat and low-sugar treats,” says IBISWorld general manager Karen Dobie.   “Dark chocolate is expected to be a popular choice this Easter… Sustainability will also be on people’s minds, with fair trade chocolate tipped to be a favoured gift.”   In addition to dark and fair trade chocolates, Dobie anticipates consumers’ love of luxury will also come to the fore, with brands such as Lindt and Haigh’s enjoying increasing demand.   Seafood fare matched with a premium drop   Since many people plan on celebrating Easter at home, Dobie says supermarkets and butchers can expect a boost in spending on traditional barbeque fare, while fishmongers and liquor retailers will also do well.   IBISWorld anticipates fish and seafood expenditure to enjoy growth of around 4.9%, with seafood extending its popularity from Good Friday – when many Australians abstain from eating red meat – to Easter Sunday.   Meanwhile, alcohol spending is forecast to hit $137.6 million, with imported wines, cider and craft beers tipped as firm favourites.   Overall, IBISWorld anticipates food and beverage spending will reach $1.55 billion – a 3.6% increase on last year’s outlay.   Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, says food retailers need to think about how best to promote their products.   “If you’re a general store selling Easter bunnies, you should be predominantly displaying them,” Zimmerman says.   “There’s also an opportunity there to perhaps market your Easter bunnies with another product. It’s not just about Easter bunnies – it’s about doing something else to sell with it.   “Try and add that extra product in that you want to try and promote.”   Similarly, retail guru Debra Templar, of The Templar Group, says bag-stuffers are an ideal way to boost sales.   Domestic travel trumps overseas getaways   This year, IBISWorld forecasts Easter holiday and travel spending will grow by just 3.9%. However, domestic travel will be more popular than short breaks overseas.   “This year most of us will be limited to domestic destinations – using the break to visit family and friends rather than splurging on international trips,” Dobie says.   According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians spent approximately 5% more on overseas travel during the past Christmas holidays than in 2011.   This suggests Australians will be reining in their spending during subsequent holiday periods, including Easter.   “Easter falling outside of the school holidays in some states will also have an impact on international travel,” says Dobie.

DIY home design to spark homewares sales: IBISWorld

2:31AM | Wednesday, 27 February

An increasing trend of do-it-yourself home design will stimulate sales for houseware retailing, according to an IBISWorld report, which shows industry revenue is expected to be worth $1.71 billion in 2017-18.

Businesses highlight their sales strategies for Valentine’s Day

2:21AM | Tuesday, 12 February

New research shows loved-up couples intend to celebrate Valentine’s Day by eating out, with spending expected to surge by 8%, while romantic getaways are also high on the agenda.

Opportunities abound in New Year’s resolutions

3:35AM | Friday, 15 March

Gyms and restaurants are set to cash in on our New Year’s resolutions, suggesting there are opportunities for start-ups to get a piece of the action.

Corporate spending on Melbourne Cup spurs business opportunities: IBISWorld

3:10AM | Tuesday, 12 March

This year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival will see spending increase by 4.1% on 2011, according to IBISWorld, which has highlighted oppportunities for retailers and regional tourism operators.

Aussie chocolatier Theobroma expands to UK, Singapore and Saudi Arabia

3:33AM | Tuesday, 12 March

Chocolatier Theobroma is expanding to the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, having already launched in five other markets, bucking the trend of struggling chocolate chains.

Collapse of iconic Adelaide bookstore Mary Martin highlights ongoing pain in book market

9:14AM | Wednesday, 26 September

The collapse of an iconic South Australian book retailer has highlighted the bleak nature of the bookselling market, which is propped up by a growing number of independent retailers, experts say.

Dads, don't get too excited about Father's Day – spending is flat

8:01AM | Friday, 31 August

Dads will be short-changed, with the average Australian expected to fork out $28.26 to treat Dad this year, up just nine cents from 2011.

Five sectors set to thrive beyond the mining boom

7:44AM | Thursday, 26 July

Concerns were raised by economic soothsayers this week when a new report predicted the end of the mining boom – Australia’s runaway success story – within two years.

Darrell Lea collapse shouldn’t deter sweet-toothed start-ups: Analyst

7:47AM | Wednesday, 11 July

An IBISWorld analyst says there are still opportunities in the chocolate industry, despite the collapse of Darrell Lea, but new entrants must determine their market position from the outset.

Five industries set to fly in 2012-13 and five set to flounder

7:30PM | Monday, 9 July

The new financial year brings with it plenty of opportunities for Australian entrepreneurs, along with severe challenges for certain sectors.

Why the age of independence is upon us

7:36AM | Wednesday, 4 July

Work just isn’t like it used to be. We work in different and more diverse occupations, and in different industries.

GST plan a small victory for retailers amid gloomy forecast

4:23AM | Tuesday, 24 April

Online customers of overseas retailers would have to pay GST under preliminary options handed to the Federal Government today, while new research suggests Australian retailers’ woes are far from over.

Meet Generation Z – what businesses need to know

4:10AM | Friday, 13 April

Generation Z are more likely to live at home, receive financial assistance from their parents, live in cities and will trust their friends’ opinions on what to buy more than marketing, according to new research from IBISWorld.

Seafood and fair trade chocolate on Easter menu: IBISWorld

4:46AM | Wednesday, 4 April

Spending on seafood will be the highest growth area this Easter, according to IBISWorld, while domestic tourism operators and specialty chocolate retailers will also do well.

Retailers reveal top Valentine’s Day sales tips as spending tipped to rise 4.8%

3:15AM | Friday, 15 March

Valentine’s Day spending is tipped to increase by almost 5% this year, according to IBISWorld, with loved-up couples expected to spend almost $1 billion in the lead-up to February 14.

Group buying start-up Kid U Not acquires three rivals

11:17AM | Tuesday, 8 November

Niche group-buying site Kid U Not has acquired three of its competitors less than three months after launching, as the company seeks to ramp up its membership base of cost-conscious parents.

Melbourne Cup spending set to dip as start-ups race for consumer dollars

10:06AM | Monday, 24 October

Consumer spending during the Melbourne Cup will fall more than 6% this year, according to IBISWorld, but retailers and hospitality businesses have been advised they can still spark sales with special offers and racing day “packages”.