eBay, Amazon lead the way for Australian shoppers – StartupSmart

The most popular site for Australian shoppers is eBay, with other major retailers dominating the top 10, according to a new report.


The Nielsen NetView report lists the top 10 most visited sites by Australian consumers in January, with eBay well out in front with 5.58 million unique visitors.


eBay is followed by US-based retailer Amazon with 2.1 million visitors, Woolworths with 1.4 million, JB Hi-Fi and DealsDirect. Rounding out the top 10 are Big W, VistaPrint, Dick Smith, Officeworks and Kmart.


The revelation follows claims made by large traditional retailers that overseas online retailers are hurting their sales.


The traffic also shows that many bricks-and-mortar retailers – including Woolworths, JB Hi-Fi, Big W, Dick Smith, Officeworks and Kmart – have successfully expanded their operations into the online realm.


Nielsen Online analytics director Mark Higginson says the growth of large brands has been one of the biggest trends over the past year.


Forrester Research’s Noble says the standout performance of eBay shows it has become a staple not only for consumers but for businesses.


“eBay is a significant component for the economy. There are many businesses that do use eBay as a shop front, some of which have their own offsite shop fronts as well, and DealsDirect is a good example,” Noble says.


“Any product that you want to find on DealsDirect you can find on their shop on eBay… and they sustain eBay as a sales channel, but not their sole domain for their sales.”


eBay recently released figures showing that its top 200 merchants recorded revenue growth of 38% during 2010, with its most successful merchant topping $12 million for the year.


But Higginson says while eBay is certainly dominating the online retail space, he points out their grip is actually declining as these larger brands start coming online.


“eBay has long been a category winner. It empowers individual sellers and businesses to set up their own stores in ways that are attractive to customers, especially if you are a small business owner,” he says.


“But one of the interesting things we’re seeing is that their popularity is actually tracking down – their traffic is down from last year. Not by much, but it is a slow downward trend.”


Higginson says the major growth is being seen in these larger brands – Woolworths is up 48%, JB Hi-Fi is up 42% and Kmart is up 46%.


“We’ve seen massive growth in online, and the mainstream retailers have gotten to a point where there is so much going on they can’t ignore it,” he says.


“Even things like the group buying category would prompt them to come online. It’s suddenly a huge business model and shows how this all really works.”


But Forrester Research analyst Steven Noble says while these sites may be getting the most traffic, they aren’t the biggest sellers.


“It’s possible that a trend like this is occurring, with regard to higher sales, but I’m not seeing evidence of that in our data. The Nielsen data refers to web traffic, which may certainly lead to an increase in online sales but the data doesn’t specify,” he says.


“It doesn’t necessarily show which retailers are becoming more popular, if you define popularity as by making a sale.”


Nielsen also stresses that the data doesn’t correlate with sales.


Noble says while the introduction of larger companies highlights their absence over the past decade, he also points out that it’s the smaller companies that are getting most of the money.


“Certainly a number of larger and more traditional retailers have come online recently, or will do so in the near future, and they are taking a share of online sales,” he says.


“They will continue to do that but, at the same time, overall online sales are growing rapidly and the pie is getting larger.”

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