Two in three Australian online retailers increased their revenue in 2022 despite inflation and rate rises, and nine in 10 plan to invest more in their business to protect against current economic pressures, new research from leading parcel delivery service, CouriersPlease, has revealed.

Nine in 10 online retailers have at least one business investment plan this year, to help protect their business from lower consumer spending, with the top response being expanding their product range (42%), followed by improving their e-commerce store (38%) and investing in marketing (34%), ahead of expanding into new markets (31%) and implementing new technology such as chatbots and automated fulfilment (31%). Further, close to one in five (18%) plan to introduce more delivery options, while 15% want to create better returns or exchange processes.

The results are encouraging and indicate online retailers’ commitment to their business growth, according to CouriersPlease CEO, Richard Thame.

“Online retailers are still enjoying the positive effects of the e-commerce boom, and total revenue for the Australian market is forecasted to continue growing steadily year-on-year, with the market projected to reach US$35 billion by 2025. But the survey shows that retailers are not naïve to economic fluctuations and are acting now to prepare for potential future challenges,” he said.

Between the states, investment priorities vary. Online retailers in Queensland led the way with plans to invest in product range expansion, with just under half (48%) of Queenslanders investing in this option, compared with only 20% of West Australians.

The highest proportion of retailers planning to improve their e-commerce store are in Victoria – at 40% – compared with an equal 27% of South Australian and West Australian retailers who plan the same.

 The highest proportion of retailers planning to invest into new markets are in NSW – at 38% – compared with just 13% of West Australians.

Micro businesses are most likely to neglect the need to invest in their business to generate sales in a tough economic period, with one fifth (20%) of this group admitting they will do nothing to hedge against an economic slowdown. This was followed by only 10% of medium-sized businesses and 4% of small businesses. No large businesses are willing to resign to fate in the event of economic turndown.

“The link between scaling and investing in different areas of the business, and a positive revenue report is clear. It makes sense that the online retailers that are forward-looking in their business development will help keep their customers engaged and interested in their products and services,”Thame said.

“By offering new products, easier pathways through their e-commerce store, or a range of delivery options, retailers provide customers with a positive user experience that can help convert sales and increase revenue, even during more challenging economic times.”