Amazon has had a “dull” launch in Australia, according to retail experts and a new report from PayPal. Picture: Getty Images
Amazon has had a “dull” launch in Australia, according to retail experts and a new report from PayPal. Picture: Getty Images

Amazon ‘half as popular’ as eBay

DESPITE a multimillion-dollar investment and promises to change the way we shop, Amazon Australia is only half as popular as the country's leading online retailer, a new study has revealed.

But experts warned Australian retailers could not afford to ignore the technology giant as even though it offered just 10 per cent as many products here as in its US store, it would not simply "pull out a white flag and give up" and was slowly gaining "mindshare" with Aussie bargain hunters.

 

Amazon Australia is only half as popular as the country’s leading online retailer.
Amazon Australia is only half as popular as the country’s leading online retailer.

 

The latest bad news for Amazon came in a detailed report into Australia's online shopping habits from PayPal, which also revealed online marketplaces had become more popular than search engines, smartphones had taken over from tablets for online shopping, and three in four Australians bought items on their smartphones, sometimes while inside bricks and mortar stores.

The annual PayPal mCommerce Index, which surveyed more than 1000 consumers and 400 business owners, found online marketplaces had become the top shopping destination for Australia's internet shoppers, overtaking individual stores.

But while eBay Australia claimed the title of the country's most popular marketplace, attracting 79 per cent of online customers, its rich rival Amazon attracted just 40 per cent of buyers.

And PayPal Australia managing director Libby Roy said the figures could be even worse for Amazon Australia, as the research came before Amazon kicked Australians out of its larger international stores.

 

Online marketplaces have become the top shopping destination for Australia’s internet shoppers, overtaking individual stores.
Online marketplaces have become the top shopping destination for Australia’s internet shoppers, overtaking individual stores.

 

"The research was completed before Amazon shut down its US and UK sites and directed Australian consumers away from those," she said.

"That didn't have an impact on these numbers."

Amazon's Australian website, which launched on December 5 last year, features roughly 10 per cent of the products available in its US store.

The company restricted Australian access to its American marketplace after it was directed to collect the GST on all online purchases.

 

PayPal CEO Libby Roy. Picture: Hollie Adams
PayPal CEO Libby Roy. Picture: Hollie Adams

 

Gartner global retail principal research analyst Thomas O'Connor said there was little doubt Amazon's Australian launch was "not that well received by the Australian consumer".

But he said the company was already convincing shoppers to check prices and delivery times on the Amazon website before making a purchase, and warned Australian stores not to ignore its progress.

"Amazon is not just going to pull out a white flag and give up on the Australian market," Mr O'Connor said.

"Retailers need to keep on the front foot and keep pressuring Amazon so it doesn't take huge swathes of market share like they have in the United States."

The PayPal mCommerce Index also found almost three in four Australians bought goods from their smartphone screen, the number of items purchased from mobile phones jumped 32 per cent, and almost one in four people shopped on their mobile phone while in a physical store.

"I might walk into a shoe shop to try on shoes but if the checkout queue is too long and they're available in the online store to be delivered at home, I can purchase them on my phone," Ms Roy explained.

One in four Australian shoppers also abandoned an online purchase on their phone because the site was slow to load, the study found, even though just 55 per cent of Australian businesses had online stores designed for the small screen.



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