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Australian online businesses had a great 2010 and are expecting an even better 2011, finds report


According to eBay’s survey Online Business Index (OBI), Australian online businesses had a great 2010 and are expecting an even better 2011 though 78% of them reported problems with suppliers and manufacturers.

The second Online Business Index, an eBay major survey of Australian online businesses, has found that 2010 was a great year for ecommerce. According to the report, the turnover of its top 2,000 eBay sellers has grown by 38%, there were 13% more sellers generating sales over $1 million than compared to 2009 and 69% of online businesses said they were optimistic about 2011 and were expecting to increase their staff along the course of the year.

“Successful retailers go where the customers are and increasingly that’s online,” said eBay Vice President Deborah Sharkey.

“Respondents demonstrate that they use online as an additional sales channel and it’s these savvy businesses, keeping up with the market trends and taking advantage of the high Australian dollar that will win in the retail space.”

These growth numbers mean that eBay sellers grew ten times more in 2010 than retail, when comparing eBay and ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) data over the same period.

OBI also reported that 78% of online businesses claimed that they experienced difficulties with manufacturers and suppliers. Over 35% of them stated they had issues with suppliers trying to prevent them from selling their products online, 28% stated that suppliers required certain conditions to be met in order for businesses to sell their products and 25% stated issues with suppliers wanting them to sell their products at a particular price.

According to Kirsty Chapman-Smith, co-owner of Australian online business Deal4Kids, many suppliers “don’t want to lose the business of long standing retail partners, despite the fact that more and more consumers are moving online to make their purchases. It’s become an issue of both loyalty and adapting to new sales channels.”

Other findings

OBI found that the main reason behind the online commerce growth is consumer demand as well as an increase in the range of services offered by Australian Post. The rising of the Australian dollar also had a positive impact on eCommerce. According to the survey, a stronger Australian dollar allowed online businesses to import more products from overseas and led more Australian customers to online shopping which allowed online retailers to reduce prices in order to compete with international businesses.

OBI also underlines the growth of mobile commerce. According to the report, one of the fastest growing international eBay mobile markets is the Australian. Over 72% of online businesses said the growth of mobile business would have a positive impact on their business and 62% said they will maintain, grow or start using mobile commerce. Every fifteen seconds a product is sold through eBay mobile in Australia.

You can download the report here.

Photo by Mike Knell