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Almost Ninety per cent of Australian Internet Users now Making Online Transactions

New research by the Australian Communications and Media Authority reveals Australian consumers are increasingly embracing the digital economy, with 88% of household internet users undertaking one or more  e-commerce activities and 69% purchasing at least one good or service in the last six months.

These are suggestive of increasing consumer confidence with making online transactions, said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman. The internet is empowering consumers to purchase more economically and efficiently by making it easier to locate goods and services and often to compare costs.

E-commerce is one of a number of internet activities performed by Australians online and this is the first time the ACMA has explored the nature of Australian participation and engagement with e-commerce in any depth, Mr Chapman said.

The most popular goods and services purchased by Australian consumers were: travel goods and services (56%); event, concert or movie tickets (43%) and household goods such as furniture, electrical appliances, computer equipment (37%).

Age, gender, household income, level of education and employment were found to influence the level and way in which consumers engage in e-commerce.

In general, those consumers with higher levels of education, income and in some form of employment were more likely to engage in e-commerce.

Broadly, the incidence of e-commerce activity is shown to decrease with increasing age, while the types of goods or services purchased online differ across age groups. Respondents aged 25 to 34 years had the highest incidence of purchasing online, with 82% purchasing a good or service online. This figure decreases in a linear fashion to 38% for people aged 65 years and above. Males were also more likely than females to have made purchases online (74% compared to 65%).

The amount Australians spend online varies widely.

The majority (54%) spent less than $1,000 during the previous six months, while 43% spent in excess of that. Notably, of those, 11% spent in excess of $5,000.

Convenience was cited as the most common reason for purchasing online (74%). The next most common driver was lower cost (38%).

For those consumers not purchasing goods online, the main reason cited was a lack of trust of the internet (25%), followed by a preference for shopping the old fashioned way (19%) and no desire to (17%).

The report titled Australians in the Digital Economy: Consumer engagement with e-commerce is available on the ACMA website. The report defines e-commerce as a range of online transactions such as purchasing of goods or services, banking, sourcing government services, trading shares or paying bills.

Complementing the report Australia in the digital economy: The shift to the online environment, which was released 11th November 2010.

ACMA’s research generally is intended to build an evidence base to better inform its development of advice and regulation.

ACMA media release 149/2010 16 November

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