New research reveals Aussies prefer online retailers 55% to marketplace 45%, but poor customer experience makes us quick to abandon our shopping cart
Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Study has found lack of fast and free shipping, and fear of fraud is deterring savvy Australian shoppers
Sydney, AUSTRALIA, October 24, 2018 – Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI), a global technology company that provides commerce solutions in the areas of ecommerce, shipping, mailing, and data, today published key findings from the 2018 Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Study. New research has revealed that 55 percent of Australian shoppers prefer to shop through retailer websites vs online marketplaces (45 percent). But as Australian retailers expand their presence locally and around the world, fraud prevention and management at check-out, tracking, shipping costs, and customer experience remain top priorities.
- The number of online shoppers has increased slightly (92 percent 2018/ 91 percent 2017) and so has purchase frequency at the daily/ weekly level (24 percent 2018 vs 23 percent 2017)
- Australia is one of two countries where purchases skew towards online retailers versus marketplaces (55 percent retailers, 45 percent marketplaces). The other country is South Korea.
- Fewer Australians made a cross-border purchase in 2018 than in 2017 (81 percent 2018 vs 88 percent 2017), but cross-border shoppers are making purchases slightly more frequently, with 12 percent of online shoppers making daily or weekly purchases, vs 11 percent in 2017.
- Globally, the number of online shoppers who have made a cross-border purchase dropped from 70 percent in 2017 to 64 percent this year. The countries most impacted by this drop are the UK and Canada.
- Delivery costs was the top frustration cited by Australians and is higher than any other country (34 percent versus 23 percent globally). Other e-retailer/ marketplace services that disappointed shoppers were packages not having the correct product, surprise fees, and quality of packaging (ie: damage).
- Clothing, footwear and accessories remains the top cross-border category purchased, growing from 59 percent in 2017 to 61 percent in 2018
- 92 percent of cross-border shoppers in Australia buy from the US. 67 percent buy from the UK.
- Expensive shipping costs and late deliveries contributed to increased frustrations for Australians and global shoppers during holiday season, 60 percent 2018 vs 40 percent 2017.
- Conversely, consumers faced less holiday challenges on tracking inaccuracies 6 percent down from 12 percent, clarity of return policies 4 percent down from 7 percent, items shipped to wrong address 4 percent down from 8 percent.
- Fraud was listed as the leading concern for retailers globally, as 42 percent of retailers report that more than 10 percent of their cross border orders have been rejected by their systems due to fraud suspicion or detection.
High ground for Aussie retailers
The findings from the Global Ecommerce Study deliver insights for Australian retailers to build brand affinity and improve their post-purchase experience. The study reveals that 64 percent of Australians are conscious of brands when shopping, while the remaining 36 percent either know the product they want or are window shopping. When Australians know what brand and product they want, they primarily visit retailers' sites (62 percent of the time) and, in contrast to global results, Australians are more likely to purchase on a retailers' site versus a marketplace when window shopping (52 percent vs 48 percent). In contrast, global consumers continue to gravitate towards marketplaces for the majority of their online shipping (60 percent marketplace vs 40 percent retailers).
Commenting on online retailers over marketplace, Shane Lenton, CIO, Cue Clothing said, “The 2018 Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Study revealed that consumers prefer to shop on a retailer’s website, so this presents a unique opportunity to create brand affinity as 62 percent of shoppers knows where and what to shop. As retailers, we need to work to our strengths and capitalise where there is a competitive advantage. Cue achieves this with our endless aisle store-to-door delivery, championing our new 30 minute click & collect and three-hour delivery service from stores. This is reflective of the growing demand to create a seamless buying experience for the shopper regardless of where they shop. However, purchase is only the initial step in customer engagement and retailers need to double-down on other elements of consumer experience that matter the most – delivery, returns, tracking, localised payment options in both domestic and in cross border. The post-purchase experience matters significantly too.
Cue ensures the best experience and seamless cross border transactions, and this has been possible through our partnership with Pitney Bowes Borderfree. Cue is currently driving 15 percent cross border business from US, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong and other middle eastern countries.”
A bad post-purchase experience can cost retailers multiple customers. Yet, despite frustrations, consumers are shopping online more frequently
Nearly everyone is shopping online – 94 percent of consumers globally; unchanged year-over-year. But, the frequency with which consumers shop online is accelerating. Globally, 35 percent of online shoppers make an online purchase at least weekly. In Australia, 24 percent make an online purchase at least weekly, up from just 23 percent a year ago.
Yet for the first time, the study identified the leading reasons why consumers abandon their cross-border orders. For Australians, the three main deterrents are shipping costs; delayed delivery time, and suspicious around checkout process seemed suspicious/fraudulent. Other reasons cited were unwilling to deal with the returns process and lack of preferred payment options. Globally, Australian shoppers were cited as highest (62 percent) for abandoning purchase in cross border due to high shipping/delivery costs, while 34 percent abandoned due to longer delivery times.
Commenting on this Lila Snyder, President, of Commerce Services, Pitney Bowes said “Successful high-growth retailers and brands not only exceed their customers’ expectations on the post-purchase experience, but they leverage every consumer touchpoint to build brand awareness, further strengthening customer loyalty. The silver lining for retailers: consumers are giving you the blueprint for how to get it right and retailers who heed the call will reap untold benefits in terms of customer loyalty and revenue growth.”
Fast and free shipping are table stakes for online retailers
The Global Ecommerce Study also confirms that consumers start to make judgements on the post-purchase experience even before placing their orders. Across the globe, consumers are becoming more demanding in their expectations for “fast and free”, with under half the population (only 47 percent) considering 2-day free shipping “fast.” This year’s findings from Pitney Bowes’ Global Shopping Study revealing 82 per cent of Australian shoppers prefer free shipping with a longer delivery time, as opposed to shipping at a cost with shorter delivery time (18 percent).
“If there is one finding for retailers to pay attention to, it’s this one: fast and free shipping is a must. Retailers need to build customer loyalty by delivering exceptional experiences. These findings present an opportunity for brands and retailers to master processes, predominantly shipping space – like customer care and delivery tracking; returns, calculating shipping costs and calculating duties and taxes. While the retail industry invests millions of dollars in marketing to drive consumers to their ecommerce sites, all of that expense and effort is wasted if they don’t also invest in attractive fast and free shipping offers that meet consumer expectations” concluded Lila Snyder, President, of Commerce Services, Pitney Bowes.
For more information on the study including an interactive map and infographic, please visit
About the Global Shopping Study
The 2018 Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Study is based on surveys of more than 13,000 consumers in 12 countries, combined with surveys of 650 retailers in the US, UK and Australia. The report is intended to help guide retailers and marketplaces in their investment decisions and go-to-market strategies. For more information on the study, visit https://www.pitneybowes.com/us/ecommerce-study.html.
About Pitney Bowes
Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) is a global technology company providing commerce solutions that power billions of transactions. Clients around the world, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500, rely on the accuracy and precision delivered by Pitney Bowes solutions, analytics, and APIs in the areas of ecommerce fulfillment, shipping and returns; cross-border ecommerce; presort services; office mailing and shipping; location data; and software. For nearly 100 years Pitney Bowes has been innovating and delivering technologies that remove the complexity of getting commerce transactions precisely right. For additional information visit Pitney Bowes, the Craftsmen of Commerce, at www.pitneybowes.com.
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