E-commerce sales up 22% as Aussie shoppers jump online after work to spend their hard-earned cash

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Australia’s e-commerce sector continues to outpace bricks-and-mortar retail, according to research by online payments platform eWay.

Australians spent $4.37 billion online between January and March 2015, up 22% from the previous year.

Growth in online sales outstripped sales from physical stores, with the strongest jump in customer transactions occurring between 6pm and 9pm.

The 6-9pm timeslot accounted for just over 20% of all online sales during the first quarter of 2015, with Tuesdays proving to be the strongest day for transactions overall.

The best performing categories were household items, discount stores, electronics, travel and education.

Paul Greenberg, executive chairman of the National Online Retailers Association, told SmartCompany he is not surprised that after-work hours is the best performing period for online retailers.

“When I was at DealsDirect the 6-9pm period was a beautiful period for retail,” Greenberg says.

“You could almost close your eyes and image the professional mum with two kids and a glass of wine having a bit of ‘me’ time and doing a bit of online shopping. So that’s always been a really nice period for retail. The message it sends to the industry is nothing has changed – anything, anywhere, anytime still has to be the ballgame.”

Greenberg says 6-9pm is an optimum time for retailers to tap into consumer appetites because people are leading busier lives with no sign of that changing any time soon.

“People are getting busier and the leisurely shop during the day is getting harder,” he says.

“So that evening period is lovely for entertainment and to me online shopping is no different. It allows shoppers to browse, look at what’s hot and what’s not and of course do some buying. It’s been the promise from day one of online retail – you can shop in your pyjamas and the comfort of your own home.”

The other trend Greenberg thinks online retailers should keep an eye on is the growth in the home and lifestyle products space.

“The housing sectors are on fire and that’s great news for anyone selling family and lifestyle products,” he says.

“So I think you’ll find that’s where growth is coming from. You’ll find that trend continue for some time – [online] is perfect for family and lifestyle shopping. The intersection of physical and digital retail continues and long may it do so.”