The ‘new retail’: Australian trends in online and offline purchases

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th April 2014
The retail landscape is changing, according to Nielsen

The number of consumers who shopped online in Australia in 2013 was higher than the number of those who did online banking, with market research organisation Nielsen finding that nine in ten (89 per cent) of consumers purchased a product online last year. Consumers who purchased liquor online were likely to spend twice as much as those who purchased in-store.

More Australians using a combination of online and offline

In addition, Nielsen found that six in 10 Australians now used a combination of both online and traditional retail stores as part of their research or purchase process. Nielsen said these ‘new retail’ behaviours are emerging as digital and physical retail stores converge.

Online research converted into both online and offline purchases, according to Nielsen. Results from the 2014 Nielsen Connected Consumers Report showed that online (research)-to-offline (purchase) had the best conversion for liquor, restaurant, clothing and pharmacy item purchases, while online-to-online converted best for printed books, clothing and digital music.

Mobile devices blurring lines between online and offline shopping

Mobile-connected devices such as smartphone and tablets were aiding this ‘new retail’ movement, broadening the reach of brands and retailers by facilitating “anywhere, anytime” shopping, and blurring the lines between what constitutes online versus offline shopping.

More than one in 10 online Australian shoppers used their smartphone to make a purchase and the same proportion purchased using a tablet (13 per cent).

Wine time online

The 2014 Nielsen Connected Consumers Report showed that just over one in 10 (13 per cent) of Australian consumers purchased wine online in the past six months — on par with the number of consumers who purchased their food and groceries online.

While the number of consumers buying wine online is relatively low, Nielsen said these consumers were an important consumer segment because they were likely to spend twice as much as those who purchased in-store.

Online store preferences for wine buyers

Nielsen found that Dan Murphy’s, Woolworths Online and eBay were popular wine destinations for young consumers, while Cellarmasters was the most popular purchase point for older consumers.

Gray’s Online was also a popular choice for men who were buying wine. Nielsen also found that heavy online wine buyers were more likely to be men.

Mobile purchases

Nielsen said wine was the least likely category to be purchased via a mobile phone. This showed an opportunity for retailers and brands to consider their in-store opportunities to connect with mobile consumers, as well as out-of-store opportunities while consumers are on the go.

Online research by consumers creates sales

Online research converted into both online and offline purchases, according to Nielsen. Among people who researched wine online, one third went on to purchase wine online in the same 30-day period, while one quarter of online wine researchers went on to buy wine in-store.

Nielsen said this highlighted the role of the online channel not only as a method of distribution, but a “valuable marketing tool in driving wine-buyers into the store”.