By Claire Reilly

The majority of Australians using the internet are shopping online according to a new report released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) this week. The “E-commerce marketplace in Australia: Online shopping” report found that 62 per cent of adult internet users purchased goods and services online in the six months to April 2011.

The key factors driving consumers to e-tailing were convenience and price, while the main detractors for those not shopping online were a lack of trust in the internet, a preference for shopping in store and consumers that said they saw no need, according to the report.

Interestingly, it was not just young people flocking to online stores – with Australians aged 35 to 44 the most likely to have shopped online. Those with higher incomes were also more likely to have shopped online.

The ACMA report also tracked trends in the way businesses engaged with online retail, finding a “greater use by businesses of group buying and social media as online shopping channels to complement traditional shopfront services”.

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In addition, the report found that businesses were seeing “increased revenues from online shopping channels” and that there was “a significant shift to overseas websites for online purchasing [and] increased use of mobile or m-commerce”.

An estimated 59 per cent of small-to-medium enterprises took online orders over the six-month period surveyed, while 18 per cent used social media for their business activities.

When it comes to purchasing from overseas or Australian websites, consumers are still favouring local e-tailers, though there is evidence of a declining trend.

“Australians are still predominately shopping from Australian websites,” the report read. “However, in the 18 months to April 2011 there has been a decline in the proportion of adult online shoppers mainly purchasing from Australian websites—from 68 per cent in the six months to November 2009 to 53 per cent in the six months to April 2011.”