Posted on Monday, September 26th, 2011
Australian men are increasingly spending online and making use of discount coupons according to a new report from the Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation.
The report suggests that over the last four years Aussie men spent a third more than their female counterparts every month, with a quarter of all people polled in the survey saying they bought an item online at least once a week.
Scott Ewing a senior research fellow at the University says that researchers have yet to understand exactly what the reasons behind the trend of men buying more online than women are, though Mr. Ewing says that a number of factors are at play.
“What we’ve got is some speculations based on other research that has been done, but it seems that it’s got something to do with the sorts of things that men are buying online – things like electronic goods, gadgets, more expensive things,”
“Men seem more comfortable spending larger amounts of money online.”
According to Mr. Ewing, the survey suggests that women tend to worry about security the possibility of credit card fraud much more than their male counterparts.
“I think men seem to be more price-sensitive, so the lower prices online seem to attract men more highly. A lot of women’s shopping – particularly in terms of clothes – they’re more committed to trying things on to see what they actually look like.”
Mr. Ewing says the trend cannot be attributed simply to younger men seeking online bargains, with men aged between 50 and 60 also increasingly spending online.
“I think that’s largely about that group having disposable income and also becoming more comfortable with the technology,” he said.
The data suggests that Australian spent an average of $206 online every month during 2011, compared with $179 in 2007.
Whilst the data suggests that Australians are enthusiastically embracing online shopping, traditional retailers have very little to worry about Mr. Ewing says.
“One of the things that did interest us is that despite the fact that retailers are greatly concerned about people using them as shopfronts for other people’s online stores – going in and trying stuff on and then going and buying it online – actually the reverse is more likely to happen for the consumer,” he said.
“Consumers are still more likely to use the internet as a research tool and then when it comes time to purchase, go to a bricks and mortar store and do it.”
Brick and mortar retailers have been aggressively lobbying the government to impose the GST on goods imported that fall below the current GST free threshold of $1,000 in the face of intense competition from overseas based online retailers.
The challenge traditional retailers face according to Mr. Ewing is how they differentiate themselves from online competition.
“So if [the consumers] want a small hardware store, provide excellent service, make sure that when someone comes in and they’re looking for a widget they get the right widget, not necessarily the cheapest widget,” he said.
“Or secondly, how [sellers] can use the existing online tools, such as enabling customers to search their inventory and that kind off stuff – how they can integrate online with their existing offline business.”
According to Mr. Ewing, consumers will always shop over both the internet and in physical stores, though it is likely the way they do it will increasingly change.
“You can see this with for example Woolworths supermarkets bringing out an iPhone app that helps their shoppers to shop in their traditional bricks and mortar stores,” he said.
“[Woolworths is] providing a way for them to create shopping lists, work out what aisle are the chips in, all that kind of stuff. So they’re trying to integrate user technology to help them sell stuff which is what they’ve always done.”