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Going online has become a key marketing strategy for most businesses, and understanding household use of information technology can help to understand customer behaviour.

A survey of information technology use by households is conducted every two years by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The survey presents estimates on household access and personal internet use in Australia. “Internet users” refers to persons aged 15 and over who accessed the internet from any site within the previous 12 months.

The ABS found that in 2012–13, over three quarters (76%) of Australia’s 15.4 million internet users made a purchase or order over the internet.

While there is a slightly higher proportion of male internet users than female (84% compared to 83%), the roles are reversed for online shopping in 2012–13. Over three quarters (76%) of female internet users shopped online, compared to 75% of male internet users.

Travel, accommodation, memberships or tickets of any kind were the most common type of purchase for both men and women. The second most popular online shopping items for females were clothes, cosmetics or jewellery (59%). For men, the second most popular purchases were CDs, music, DVDs, videos, books or magazines (50%).

Social presence growing

The two most popular activities performed on the internet at home were paying bills or banking online and social networking. Social networking was more common for younger people: 90% of 15–17-year-olds and 92% of 18–24-year-olds performed this activity.

Internet users who did not make an online purchase or order in 2012–13 comprised 24% of internet users. The three most commonly reported main reasons for not making an online purchase or order were as follows:

  • had no need (33%);
  • preferred to shop in person/see the product (24%); and
  • security concerns/concerned about providing credit card details online (12%).

While the 15–17 and 65-or-over age groups were least likely to make online purchases, their main reasons for not doing so differ considerably. For 15–17-year-olds, some of the reasons for not purchasing or ordering goods or services online included not having a credit card, or there was someone else that could do it for them. For those aged 65 and over, the reasons included there being no need to purchase online or preferring to see the shop and product in person.

Going online?

The number of small-to-medium enterprises with on online presence in Australia is growing. As the power of the internet grows, so do the opportunities for small businesses.

Some things to consider:

  • Create a website for your business – From online sales, to articles about your products and company contact information, having a website that details your goods and services is a great way to keep your customers up to date. A good website provides your customers with interesting and relevant information that keeps them coming back for more.
  • Use social media – Using services like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram can help you to engage with your customers in a more relaxed and friendly way. Linking to your website in social media can be a great way to increase webpage visits and generate interest in your products and services.

Contact us for help

  • Do you need help with starting a business website?
  • If you have a business website, have you recently assessed how it can be improved to tap into new markets, sell more products and make more contacts?