Online retailer claims consumers indifferent to interest rate rises

By James Wells

SYDNEY: An online shopping site, which retails computers, mobile phones and electronics claims Australians are not taking any notice of interest rates after four consecutive increases.

Oztion, which claims the position as the second largest online auction site, made the observation about Australian consumers during a press conference reporting its third quarter results today.

“There have now been four official interest rate rises in Australia since August 2006,” said Oztion managing director, Philip Druce, who pointed out that there have been subsequent rises in November 2006, August 2007 and November 2007.

“We have analysed our online sales results for the weeks surrounding each of these interest rate increases. After eliminating seasonal factors, we have found that none of the four recent interest rate rises have had any noticeable effect on spending at our site. For the moment, Australian shoppers clearly feel immune to interest rate fears when shopping online.”

Oztion, which is a free Australian online and auction shopping site based in Melbourne, reported that the first three quarters of 2007 have delivered a record number of visitors and product sales with a peak of 1.5 million Australian visitors in October fed by traffic from 210,000 registered members.

In this record month, the top five categories were jewellery and watches, followed by clothing and accessories, then computers, mobile phones and other electronic products.

The top selling product lines were Nokia mobile phones, Apple iPods, various brands of laptop computers as well as gold bracelets and necklaces. Several product categories not traditionally associated with online shopping were top sellers by value for October 2007, including women’s handbags, outboard motors for boats, and hair straightening products.

According to Druce, online product listings have grown 51 per cent in the past 12 months, averaging 460,000 simultaneous items for sale.

Items listed for sale via Oztion are offered by businesses or individuals that have been security verified by Oztion’s seller verification process. In addition, OZtion offers Buyer Shield, a buyer protection program that offers up to $400 of protection to shoppers when buying eligible goods.

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