It’s the older generation that is buying and spending more online, according to a MasterCard survey.

The MasterCard Worldwide Survey on Online Shopping behaviour shows that age now has a greater influence on internet shopping habits than ever before, indicating a widening gap between the generations when it comes to buying online.

MasterCard’s research found that 42 per cent of all online purchases made by 18-24-year-old shoppers were through international retail sites.

However Australians aged 45-49 were the most prolific online shoppers, with 83 per cent accessing the internet for online shopping in the past three months. Baby boomers also proved to be the greatest online purchasers, with shoppers aged 50 to 64 years old buying almost five products online in the last three months alone. 

Andrew Cartwright, MasterCard Australia country manager, said that the difference in behaviour between age groups is growing, and what is becoming clear is a strong underlying desire – especially among older shoppers – to support the local industry and buy Australian.

“While the rise of ecommerce can sometimes create disruptions and challenges for the local retail sector, it also presents lucrative opportunities for local outlets to harness a growing desire to buy Australian whilst online,” he said.

“The Australian online retail market is developing quickly and changing constantly. We are seeing a renewed push by major department stores and iconic local brands to reinvigorate their online offerings and cater to the heightened demands of savvy online shoppers.”

“More and more, shoppers are rewarding local stores who invest in and update their online presence. Presenting an innovative and fun experience is becoming a vital tactic for those wishing to gain a loyal customer base.”

When asked why they prefer to shop online through local retailers, 40 per cent of shoppers said it is faster while 33 per cent cited convenience as the chief motivating factor. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) also believed buying locally was cheaper than shopping through overseas outlets. Also, 75 per cent of all money spent online by those aged 50 and over was processed by local merchants.

A dramatic rise in online purchases by baby boomers and Gen X shoppers has not only put local retailers in the spotlight, but amplified the need for easy, fast and safe transactions regardless of the sales channel.

Cartwright said that the growth of online transactions from these demographic groups will lead to even greater diversity in online retailers.