Report: Australian ecommerce hits record-breaking heights

New figures show Australian consumers are jumping on ecommerce but become the subject of record-breaking scams as a result

Australia’s ecommerce market is expected to grow by 13.4 per cent this year off the back of hefty gains in 2020 and is on track to break the US$70 billion barrier by 2025. Yet with such growth comes a record spike in scams targeting Australian consumers.

The latest GlobalData report into the state of the country’s ecommerce market shows Covid-19 accelerated ecommerce spending by 16.8 per cent to US$41.2 billion ($53.5bn) in 2020, then by an estimated 13.4 per cent in 2021, bringing it to US$46.7 billion ($60.6bn) in 2021.

The growth was driven by online purchasing of retail goods such as groceries and electronics. According to GlobalData, the top five verticals that gained spending were food and drinks, gambling services, adult services, health and beauty and digital content.

The report also looked at payment methods and found payment cards accounted for 37.2 per cent of all ecommerce sales in Australia, while payment solutions such as PayPal, Afterpay and Apple Pay accounted for 43.3 per cent. Afterpay alone accounts for 7.7 per cent of total ecommerce payments in 2021 so far. 

Based on these findings, GlobalData is expecting Australian ecommerce growth to tip US$70bn by 2025. 

“The pandemic accelerated ecommerce activities in the country as wary consumers are staying home to avoid exposing themselves to disease vectors. This trend will continue driven by rise in new online shoppers,” said GlobalData banking and payments senior analyst, Shivani Gupta. “The pandemic has brought a permanent shift in consumer buying behaviour from in-store to online shopping, which has accelerated digital payments adoption and benefiting alternative payment solutions.”

The predictions are based on data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research and in-house analysis conducted by GlobalData including its 2021 Financial Services Consumer Survey, conducted across more than 52,000 consumers in 42 markets including Australia. 

Related: Soaring ecommerce take-up in Australia in 2020 signals more to come

Ecommerce, digital drive first-half growth at Woolworths and Coles

Scammers on the rise

And with extra spending online comes extra scamming. According to the latest ScamWatch statistics, there has been an average of 5108 shopping scam cases a month in Australia in 2021, 40 per cent higher than those recorded in 2020.

November and December were the most successful months for Australian scammers last year, with losses for customers reaching an estimated $14 million during that season. Overall, ScamWatch figures released in September show Australians have lost $211 million to scams so far this year, an 89 per cent increase compared to last year.

Among the most common retail-oriented scams are fake websites, online stories or social media accounts offering deals. Another popular type of scam is for criminals to present as genuine sellers on classified websites such as Amazon or eBay then disappear after a consumer makes a payment. Common goods offered up in these scams are smartphones, computers and shoes.

According to NordVPN digital privacy expert, Daniel Markuson, offers will more likely than not inject malware into an unwary consumer’s device or download clutter software. With Black Friday sales coming up, the service provider was keen to offer up several tips to avoid these scams. These include sticking to HTTPS websites, checking the URL is right and being wary of shortened URLs.  

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