Convenience and price are the main drivers for why approximately 62 per cent of Australians have made a purchase online in the six months to April 2011.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) E-Commerce Marketplace in Australia: Online Shopping report showed Australians are still predominately shopping from Australian websites; however, in the 18 months to April 2011 there has been a decline in the proportion of adult online shoppers mainly purchasing from Australian websites—from 68 per cent in the six months to November 2009 to 53 per cent in the six months to April 2011.

The increased popularity of overseas sites is reflected in research findings showing that 48 per cent of Australians purchasing online in the six months to April 2011 did so equally or more from overseas sites compared to 31 per cent in the six months to November 2009.

Nineteen per cent mostly purchased from overseas sites, up from 12 per cent in the six months to November 2009.

“While Australians undertake a variety of activities via the internet, growth in online transacting (banking, bill payment and purchasing) is at the core of the emerging online service market,” said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

“This research suggests that consumer confidence about making online transactions is growing and Australian businesses have a real opportunity to develop their businesses and engage with consumers in the online space.”

The report also found most purchases online occurs via a computer with online shopping via mobile handsets still relatively small. There are also signs that online social networking is starting to influence consumers purchasing decisions, with some 169,000 people estimating to have purchased a good or service as a result of advice on a social networking site during June 2011.

At the same time, the most likely age group to shop online are those aged between 35-44 years old and they are living in remote locations.