Cheap trumps local for young shoppers

Australian retailers need to make sure they offer young shoppers free or competitive shipping, mobile-optimised sites and accepted payments across multiple devices.

In news that is a warning shot across the bow for small businesses, most young shoppers don’t care where a purchase comes from if it is shipped for free and can be bought easily on their phone.

A survey by online payment platform PayPal has found that shopping on a smartphone or tablet has become the only way to buy online for nearly 10% of those aged 18-34; only a third exclusively bought from Australian outlets.

Unsurprisingly, millennials are more likely to buy from their phones than other age groups and the majority have shopped online from both Australian and overseas retailers in the past 12 months.

‘Our research shows that Australian merchants are not meeting the needs of millennials on a number of fronts so they need to step up their offering,’ PayPal Australia Director of Merchants Services, Simon Banks, said.

Australian retailers need to make sure they offer free or competitive shipping, mobile-optimised sites and accepted payments across multiple devices, he said. This is particularly the case for small businesses, who have traditionally focused on building a loyal, local following, and who haven’t often offered the same range of payment and delivery options in the past as the larger retailers.

Millennials account for 21% of Australia’s population but these young shoppers make up around 34% of the nation’s retail spend each year.

Just over half of young people don’t care whether the business is Australian or not, something Mr Banks said should make local retailers – more often than not, SMEs – wary.

‘Virtual barriers between businesses and consumers are coming down…your customer base is no longer restricted to your own backyard.

‘It also means your competition is no longer just local either,’ he said.

Free shipping was a big drawcard, with fewer young shoppers concerned by a site’s security than whether it offered delivery at no charge.

AAP and Inside Small Business

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