As a continent with big distances between its city centres, Australia might not seem an obvious leader in online retailing given the costs of delivery.
But the country boasts one of the highest levels of online sales penetration among developed nations, with much of the growth driven by offshore retailers.
The popularity of online shopping is bolstered by a strong Australian dollar, favorable tax policy, the strong take-up of smartphones, and high domestic prices for certain goods.
It is also one of the few bright spots in the otherwise-struggling retail sector, as Australian consumers have either looked to pay down debt or take advantage of their strong currency to travel overseas. A record 7.6 million residents left the country last year on short-term trips.
Australians’ changing shopping habits have been a factor behind a slew of earnings downgrades from some of the country’s biggest retailers such as David Jones, JB Hi-Fi and Myer, the department stores group that last month downgraded profit guidance for the second time in two years.
Recent government data showed retail sales unexpectedly fell in April for the first time in ten months as consumers cut back.Page 1 of 4 | Next Page