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PayPal's study demonstrated that a quarter of Australians still prefer to buy local products
PayPal's study demonstrated that a quarter of Australians still prefer to buy local products

Online jewellery sales set to soar

Online jewellery sales in Australia are forecast to skyrocket from $562 million this year to $752 million in 2013 – a 33.8 per cent rise, according to a PayPal e-commerce study.
This Christmas alone, the study projected a 10 per cent increase in Christmas spending for online retailers – from $24.02 billion in 2009 to $26.86 billion – at a time when high street retailing is expected to be dampened by continued consumer concerns over the economy.

Overall Australian online retail sales are expected to reach $36.81 billion a year by 2013.

The ‘E-commerce: Secure Insight’ study also claimed that, contrary to popular belief, the majority of online retailers that are competing with the high street are domestic – rather than overseas – retailers.

These domestic online retailers are a mixture between pure-play online stores and multichannel retailers that have both an online and physical bricks-and-mortar store.

PayPal Australia managing director Frerk-Malte Feller said, “one of the most gratifying findings from the research is that recent category growth is being driven by domestic retailers, and this is a trend that is set to continue.”

The study said 23 per cent of Australian adults only shop online with domestic websites.

Consumers prefer to buy local

Although domestic e-commerce is growing at a rapid rate, PayPal figures showed a 74 per cent increase in the total money spent on overseas retailers.

Contrary to popular reasoning, which attributed the increase to the parity of the Australian dollar, the study argues that consumers are looking overseas for the wider choice and selection of goods rather than price.

Feller said consumers still preferred to buy local goods.

“Our research demonstrated a strong preference to ‘buy Aussie’ with nearly a quarter of Australian adults only shopping online with domestic websites,” he said.

According to the study, a third of Australian consumers believe it is safer to buy local goods while 30 per cent of them worried about stories of fraud pertaining to overseas websites.

Feller urged domestic retailers to “realise that they are not solely competing with their international counterparts on price” and to “expand their online offerings”.

Although the PayPal report suggests domestic online retail is booming in Australia, previous research reports have suggested that Australian businesses are lagging behind when it comes to embracing the online retail phenomenon.
PayPay Australia spokesperson Adrian Christie said independent retailers and big enterprises faced divergent challenges in launching online.

He argued that businesses with a clear expectation of quality would find it easier to launch an online transactional website, and cited Michael Hill and Tiffany & Co as examples of this. However, numerous layers of operations could potentially stand in the way of big retailers succeeding online.

Smaller retailers by contrast, are not limited by the same cumbersome operations procedures and could capitalise on the relationship they shared with consumers by extending their businesses beyond the storefront, according to Christie.

Christie pointed out numerous ways in which jewellery retailers could increase their online presence; from email newsletters updating customers of new stock and setting up a site on eBay, to setting up blogs talking about the inspiration behind each jewellery design and mobile applications.

He said word of mouth was still key in online retailing and said social media forums such as Facebook could be used to facilitate this form of marketing.

More reading:
Online GST battle gains momentum
Why small retailers can thrive online
Luxury jewellery and watches digitally 'paralysed'
Jewellers without websites are missing a trick

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