More than 14.2 million Australians aged 14+ now do some kind of online activity in an average four week period, according to the latest Roy Morgan Single Source data for the 12 months to March 2012.
While it’s not surprising that Communication is the most popular online activity, it is noted that the ‘marketplace’ type of activities – ‘Buying, Selling, Shopping’ – has shown the most dramatic increase in recent years, up by 167% since 2008, to 7.8 million.
As shown in bright green on the chart below, more than 4 out of 10 Australians 14+ now do one or more ‘Buying, Selling, Shopping’ activities online in an average four week period.
Types of internet activities done in an average four week period, 2008-2012 – Australians 14+
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2007 – March 2012 (n = 98,222). Average 12 month sample = 19,644. Based on summary of internet activities done in an average 4 week period. ^ Note: ‘Blogs & online communities’ includes social networking.
Looking at the different online activities that make up this fast-growing ‘Buying, Selling, Shopping’ category, the most common are:
Made an online purchase (done by nearly 5.5 million Australians 14+ in an average four weeks);
Researched a product or service to buy (done by nearly 5.1 million);
Other pre-purchase research (e.g. Read ratings/reviews of products/services before purchase; Read online catalogues / classified ads; Used price comparison websites), done by 3.4 million.
Millions who do these 'Buying, Selling, Shopping' activities (in an average 4 weeks) – 2011 vs. 2012
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2010 – March 2012 (n = 37,928). Average 12 month sample = 18,964.
‘Researched a product or service to buy’ is the second most popular online ‘Buying, Selling, Shopping’ activity, but is the fastest growing, with the number of Australians 14+ who do this in an average four week period increasing by 50% in the last 12 months alone. This highlights the increasing popularity among consumers of doing pre-purchase research online as part of their ‘path to purchase’.
Although still relatively small (in terms of the number of people who do this in an average four week period), the number of Australians 14+ who ‘Purchased something as a result of advice from a social network’ has increased by 19% compared to the previous year. As the reach and influence of social media continues to grow, it can be expected that this will also continue to increase.
George Pesutto, Industry Director – Media, Roy Morgan Research says:
"The number of people using the internet to research products and services represents a huge opportunity for brands. Online is now a key source for consumers seeking information on products or services to buy, and for many it is now the destination for all pre-purchase research.
“This has real implications for marketers in terms of understanding the consumer’s path to purchase and the roles that the internet plays throughout this process – from pre-purchase research, to buying, to posting product reviews online and facilitating word-of-mouth via social media.
“Encouraging consumer engagement through word-of-mouth recommendations and product reviews has become increasingly important for brands, with a growing number of consumers turning to online ratings/reviews of products as part of their buying process.
“Building a strong brand is now more important than ever, to help drive consumers to seek out your products/services in the online marketplace. A brand’s online presence is critical – it should be easy for consumers to find you when they’re doing pre-purchase research online – but perhaps more so is the need for a brand to already be in the consumer’s consideration set prior to commencing any product research.”
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