Doms Column

Earlier this week PayPal released its mCommerce Index which surveyed over 1,000 consumers and 400 businesses. The report contained some interesting findings that the retail industry should acknowledge.

Rest assured, the NRA has long maintained that traditional bricks and mortar outlets will continue to be at the forefront of the Australian retail scene. However, a key challenge for the industry is to keep its finger on the pulse when it comes to the changing shopping habits of consumers.

According to the PayPal report, a staggering 88% of Australians over the age of 12 own a smartphone, and 72% of these consumers use mobile devices to make purchases. Equally fascinating was that almost a quarter of all online purchases take place when a shopper is in a physical store.

The conclusion to be drawn from this isn’t that all brick and mortar outlets should pack up shop (literally) and move exclusively to online stores, but rather a mobile-optimised site can complement a traditional store. Depending on the product/s you offer, not having a digital presence can risk your ability to remain competitive in a world dominated by smartphones.

Indeed, 2018 saw an increase in sales for several staple retail categories via online devices: clothing and accessories at 51%; food and drink accounting for 45%; and grocery shopping up to a record high of 28%.

But the data that most strongly demonstrates the growing emergence of mCommerce is regarding millennials. Unsurprising when you consider that this is the generation that has grown up with the internet and who use smartphones for everything from socialising to reading the news.

The PayPal report reveals 86% of millennials shop on a mobile device, while one in three will abandon a purchase altogether if payment isn’t available via mobile. Given that the use of digital technology is certainly not going to go away with subsequent generations, this again highlights the importance of assessing if your business could be enhanced by offering mobile payment (if you aren’t already).

On a final note, the report also underlined that Amazon has not proven to be the market-dominating goliath that some predicted it would be when it arrived in Australia. According to the data, Amazon recorded 40% of buyers among online marketplaces in contrast with eBay who attracted 79%. Amazon will no doubt steadily grow its Australian sales, but the doom and gloom predictions that came with its arrival down under have well and truly been put to bed.

A fully copy of the PayPal mCommerce Index Report can be found here.

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