Expanding into new markets?- consider Australia

If you’re an eCommerce site owner looking to expand into a new market, look no further than Australia. It may be far in terms of air miles, but common bonds like language and culture strongly unite Australia and the UK. At present, Australia’s total online sales are forecast to exceed $32 billion in 2017. This makes it one of the top ten most lucrative countries in the world for online sales. At the same time, digital retail in the first quarter of this year was just 7% of overall retail sales, for Australia. The figure may sound low but what this really represents is an opportunity. So why else is Australia considered one of the world’s big online retail opportunities?


First of all its economy is strong. In terms of wealth per adult, it is second only to Switzerland. Despite the worry around the closure of many of its mines, most of Australia’s workforce is employed in the service sector, which makes up 61% of GDP and employs 79% of the country. Its level of government debt is low and it also ranks highly on the world stock exchange. Australia is wealthy and Australians have considerable disposable income.


There is a high standard of logistical infrastructure in Australia. Goods bought within the country are moved on land, via road and rail and coastal shipping. Nonbulk is carried on the roads. This means that for eCommerce business owners, it doesn’t get any better. It means you can transport your goods to your customers with relative ease and at a low cost. None of your customers in the country will be denied access based on where they live, making it straightforward to market yourself as a company that serves the whole of Australia. Although with 89% of the population residing in urban areas, accessing your customer base should be relatively quick anyway. The advantage of having most of a countries population in one area is that when you set up you can initially target a smaller area and make in-roads by establishing solid logistical support only in these areas.


85% of Aussies have access to the internet and most the time it’s broadband, making it easy for the population to buy regularly online.


Mobile phone usage is high in Australia and as studies have shown buying online with mobile and handheld devices is one of the fastest growing methods of purchasing goods online. When 35% of online transactions are made on smartphone and you have a population where 89% of people have a smartphone, the opportunity for engagement is massive. Aussies are the most connected consumers in the world, on average everyone has access to 3 devices. For retailers, this means that offering easy ways of making purchases across multiple platforms is key and consistency in design and branding is crucial, as Australians more often than not will shop online via more than one device.


There is huge scope for Social commerce in Australia too. Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, YouTube and WhatsApp all have an engaged user-ship, high in the millions and high in a global context too. Social platforms drive engagement and compliment retail strategy. Aussie consumers are willing to engage but they demand a high level of quality content before they are committed to making purchases.


Beware of a phenomenon called reverse show-rooming, which is common in Australia. This is where consumers research a product online but then go and buy it in-store later. For retailers, this means that having a bricks and mortar presence is crucial. However, if you can’t afford a physical presence, be aware that the extent of reverse show-rooming varies between industries; the industry that you operate in may not be affected so much.


Launching yourself in Australia may seem like a daunting and critical task, but with such a dynamic marketplace and a digitally savvy population at your disposal, there is so much to gain by setting up shop down under.