Market research

E-commerce growing fast in Oz, but it’s still a tiny niche

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

E-commerce growing fast in Oz, but it’s still a tiny niche

Related tags Grocery store Supermarket

With research suggesting that fewer than half of Australians actually enjoy grocery shopping, why aren’t more people sparing themselves the angst of the supermarket and purchasing their groceries online?

Some 12.8m Australians are their household’s main grocery-buyer, yet just 3% shop for groceries on the internet in an average month—though this is a substantial increase on 2011, when less than half would make their supermarket purchases this way. 

Meanwhile, the proportion of Australian grocery-buyers who make online alcohol purchases is also growing, having almost doubled from 1.6% in 2011 to 3.1%—or 398,000 people—this year. 

Online grocery and alcohol shopping: on the rise

Groceries and grog: the crossover

There is a marked crossover between the two categories, with 14.3% of people who do their supermarket shopping online also purchasing alcohol the same way, and 14.0% of those who buy alcohol online also doing their supermarket shopping over the internet. 

Considering that four out of five Australian women are their household’s main grocery-buyers, it is no surprise that women (3.8%) are almost twice as likely as men (1.8%) to do their supermarket shopping online. Men, however, are more likely than women to purchase grog on the internet. 

Tellingly, parents with children aged under 16 are much more likely than those in childless households to buy their groceries this way, particularly when the kids are between 0-2 years (8.6 %) and 3-5 (8.5%). This is doubtless because of the convenience of not having to take their children shopping 

Onus on supermarkets

Online grocery shopping is still relatively niche in Australia, but if supermarkets continue to invest in their e-commerce platforms, and introduce cheaper delivery and online loyalty schemes, it’s likely that the number of Aussie grocery-buyers shopping this way will continue to grow​,” said Andrew Price of Roy Morgan Research, which carried out the survey. 

Of the major supermarkets, a higher proportion of Woolworths and Coles customers make supermarket purchases online than those who usually shop at ALDI and IGA. Currently, ALDI only offers alcohol online—their customers come in below average for this kind of purchase—while IGA have not yet expanded into e-commerce, which limits loyal customers’ options.

Furthermore, our data shows that online supermarket and liquor shopping is still more popular among “technology early adopters” than other technology adoption segments​,” Price added. 

But as mainstream Australia becomes more comfortable with the concept, it stands to reason that more people will purchase groceries and alcohol via the internet​.” 

Related topics Markets & trends Oceania Asian tastes

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