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Consumers aged 30-50 dominating online spending: Report

Friday, 31 August 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Consumers in their 30s and 40s continue to be the strongest age group for online sales, according to NAB’s latest Online Retail Sales Index, which also shows a surge in regional spending.


The index was launched in February in association with data analytics firm Quantium, which assesses NAB’s transaction data to gain insight into consumers’ shopping habits.


The latest index, released today, values online sales in Australia in the year to July at $11.7 billion, which is equivalent to 5.3% of traditional retail spending, up from 4.9% in January.


Encouragingly, domestic retailers remain the dominant force in online sales. Their share sits at 72%, with the growth rate for domestic sales increasing by 24% year-on-year in July.


Having said that, the strong growth in international sales is also evident in the uptick in the index for July – the international index jumped to 237 points, compared with 201 points in June.


The report shows consumers in their 30s and 40s continue to dominate online spending, while those aged under 30 remain below average in terms of per capita spending.


However, this age group has a higher propensity to purchase from international retailers – around one-third of their spending is international, compared to around one quarter for other age groups.


Meanwhile, there has been a surge in regional spending. While the majority of online purchases are made by residents in metropolitan areas, their share is down 71% in the year to July.


The report shows growth for regional purchases has exceeded metropolitan purchases since the start of 2011, with an increase of 28% year-on-year in July, compared to 24% for metro.


Not surprisingly, WA continues to dominate in terms of spending, with a 34% growth rate over the past 12 months. However, there are some variations by age group, according to the report.


“While all age groups in Western Australia recorded stronger growth than their respective national averages, the difference between growth rates was comparatively modest for those in the under 30 category,” it said.


“In contrast, the difference between growth rates was strongest for those in the 30s and 50s age groups, suggesting… growth in online spending is fuelled by the working age population – likely those in the mining sector.”


In addition to WA, per capita spend remains highest in the ACT and the Northern Territory, while South Australia has seen a steady increase in the growth rate, up to 27% year-on-year.


The findings come on the back of a report by online shopping catalogue Lasoo, which analysed the online habits of 11,320 online consumers.


The report found men consider 34.8% fewer purchase alternatives compared to women. Overall, men consider just eight alternatives when looking for a product online, according to Lasoo.


On items such as clothing or homewares, that dropped to less than five options. However, men are only 7% less likely to make a purchase than women following online browsing.


Dominic Finnegan, executive general manager of Lasoo, says the findings offer an interesting insight into how gender may influence online shopping habits.


“Men seem to know what they want, when they see it, while women definitely take a more considered approach,” Finnegan says.


“There are a lot of behaviours that are fairly consistent across genders but browsing doesn’t seem to be one of them.”