eCommerce reports seem to hit the inboxes with almost weekly regularity now; a few years ago it was impossible to get any data on the industry – now we are bombarded with statistics, colourful graphs, loads of data – and the same general message. Are all these reports really highlighting the same thing? Ideally what we need is a centralised report summary for all these different ecommerce reports – you’re welcome.
NAB offering has perhaps been the most relevant and interesting report for the industry this year and this is largely on the fact it is produced monthly – showing that the thirst for information in our growing industry needs to be quenched regularly.
What I like about the NAB offer, apart from the monthly nature of the report, is that it compares online to bricks and mortar, comparing growth for on and offline, online as a percentage of total retail and presenting the data with line graphs – who doesn’t love an upward trending line graph? The commentary on the report is also easy to read and looks at industry and economic wide factors that are influencing the recent retail trends both on and offline.
NAB conducts the research in conjunction with Quantium – and the companies did attract some criticism earlier this year – when it was alleged they produced misleading figures with regards to payments and specifically how many transactions took place via PayPal. The NAB index uses their own customers data compiled from 2 years worth of transactions to build the index and payment preferences – this does mean some forms of PayPal transactions may be missed – that said I still find the overall eCommerce review and insight into retail trends very worthwhile – especially monthly.
NAB’s recent report showed online sales for June being up 19% year on year and overall 5.3% of traditional retail. Overall the NAB report is my preference as it easy to read, informative and did I mention monthly.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority produce an eCommerce report every 12 months – usually delivered in November. The report is a comprehensive review of all aspects of online areas of interest, such as local spending, overseas spending, age groups, consumer trust, security, frequency and reasons for looking online to buy. The 40 page document is filled with colourful graphs breaking down age group specific purchases and their preferred sectors for purchase amongst other areas of analysis.
I do enjoy the ACMA offering – however produced in a 40 page document it can be quite the brain drain and being produced yearly – means it isn’t always relevant; our industry changes rapidly. That said if you can review the research in the document the insights are well worth it –just don’t expect to read it again in 6 months and think its relevant.
It is well worth reading though if you see it in November; don’t be afraid to read a bit, put it down have a cup of tea, and return to reading – I know I did.
The OBI was first produced in early 2010 and this yearly report focuses on eBay – surveying the biggest sellers on that platform covering a range of topics from sales figures, logistics, customer feedback, pressure from suppliers and threats from overseas sellers. Whilst being eBay focused it presents a very good eCommerce overview – because lets face it eBay has a huge cross section of the community at its disposal – facing much the same issues as those interviewed for other online.
The OBI often features interviews with top sellers- sharing their stories, the issues they came across and how they over came them; it does fall down in the colourful graph category – instead presenting figures in massive font and many simple bar graphs. The eBay OBI also gains insight from relevant politicians Malcolm Turnbull and Stephen Conroy and offers eBay an ability to highlight where is sees growth and areas it is pushing into such as mobile commerce and fashion. The OBI is short in comparison to other yearly reviews – only 10 pages long – the insights are great and it is important to remember eBay is Australia’s biggest online shopping destination and a great cross section of the online industry.
Certainly worth a look every March – remember that eBay represents a good cross section of the community and trends and focus areas can often be applied off eBay.
The Sensis report has been produced yearly since as far back as the year 2000 – and is produced yearly usually being delivered in Q3 – and is another one of the 40 page monsters. The Sensis report analyses who is online, how are they online and why are people not online. It also surveys, what technology SMEs own, how often they update, if they rent equipment, website ownership etc. From this platform the report builds onto why are people online, consumer sites, SME strategies, online spending, social engagement all with a focus on SME businesses.
The report is a great read and looks at the eCommerce from a different angle, and offers insights for improvement for SME to build on for their online strategy, not online increasing sales, but how they present, how their market, and what technology to buy. Overall I do like the report, it is made up of huge chucks of text, with some graphs – but the colour schemes of the graphs aren’t ideal for viewing. Well worth looking at this years one – it was released early August so current and relevant at the moment – some key take always apart from the report showing only 15% of SME’s having an actual online strategy document were, the need for online sellers to look to sell more to overseas consumers, be ready to embrace older shoppers – the fastest growing sector of online buyers is 50+ and making sure your site is mobile friendly. Some really good take a ways – again put the kettle on.
A recent arrival to the eCommerce review market – the PwC offering arrived in July this year – it is the only one of the reports that also provides analysis our little cousin New Zealand and their online sales figures. Much of the data and presentation is very similar to that of the NAB survey however it does go further and compare Australia to overseas markets such as the US and the UK. I am unsure if the report will be monthly, quarterly, yearly or never again – whilst I do like the orange colour scheme PwC use and NZ stats – it is very similar to my preferred source of eCommerce data from NAB- although if PwC became regular that would great. The key findings from the PwC report were that online sales were 6.3% of overall retail; and total spend on overseas websites was 45% of total eCommerce spend – an increase from previous reports from other providers.
Hopefully we will see more from PwC in the future.
From our government who brought us an ABS app with incorrect census data – yes they loaded the 2006 census data instead of the 2011 data on their ABS app – we have well… nothing yet. The ABS as most of you will know produce detailed statistics on mos industries (including retail) from which the data is used as a guide on policy, trends, budgets and influence consumer confidence- after all its from the government so its influential. Perhaps this why they have been slow to act with an online index?
Money has been allocated for this to begin in November 2013 (no that is not a typo 2013), producing a monthly online retail index with data being supplemented from Australia Post and Australian Customs. The ABS stated they will be producing an information sheet in early 2013 with some insights into their research with preliminary results of the surveys.
So with all these different sources of information – they do all tend to have the same message. Consumers are going online at a rapid rate – they are embracing new technologies quicker than sellers can present an offering on them – mobile and tablet browsing for instance. Consumers will buy local when they can – but lack of options, increased variety and high Australian dollar make overseas options look good. Online sales growth compared to traditional sales growth is astronomically better; our market is tracking well when compared to overseas more developed online markets – but we risk being left behind if we don’t improve quickly. The general sentiment doesn’t change, the figures can be slightly different depending on size of sample source and date of testing, this of course can be seen easily in those pretty colourful graphs they all love.