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Australians to spend $10b online

The amount of money Australians spend online is expected to swell to around $10 billion over the next five years, prompting large and small stores to position themselves for a piece of the pie.

But while the ease and security of online shopping has improved markedly in recent years, experts say consumer behaviour is still changing as people reassess what they are prepared to buy on the web.

Faster parcel delivery speeds are also likely to attract more shoppers, leading to a boost in sales over the next decade.

This week, Australia Post cited growth in online shopping as the major driver behind its increase in annual profit, while traditional mail volumes declined.

The government-owned corporation predicts online spending on its delivery services will double over the next five years, with parcel revenue tipped to reach almost $2 billion by 2015.

It comes amid heady forecasts by IBIS World, which released research showing revenue to Australian online retailers is expected to increase by 8.6 per cent per year over the next five years to $10 billion.

Australian Retailers’ Association (ARA) president Russell Zimmerman said that growth in online retailing, which makes up about five to six per cent of total sales in Australia, was leading to large shifts in the industry.

“As speed of delivery becomes better and there’s more competition in that area within the parcel delivery service, I think we’ll see internet retailing evolve and become stronger and change its direction,” Mr Zimmerman said.

In more mature markets such as the United States, online retailing accounts for around 12 per cent of sales.

Figures showing 70 per cent of Australia Post parcels purchased online were mailed in Australia indicated that people were comfortable shopping domestically.

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