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Strong growth expected for digital marketplaces

The digital marketplace industry in Australia is expected to experience significant growth, according to the latest edition of Pattern’s ‘Marketplace Consumer Trends Report – 2023’.

The report reveals that a significant 88 per cent of Australian shoppers have already made purchases on a digital marketplace in the past year.

Moreover, an overwhelming majority of 92 per cent of consumers intend to continue shopping on established digital marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Catch in the coming year. 

The report offers valuable insights into Australian consumers’ changing online shopping habits and explores the latest trends in the digital marketplace landscape.

Consumers are set to spend more

According to Pattern’s research, a considerable 73 per cent of consumers are anticipated to maintain or increase their online spending in 2023. In the case of Amazon, the world’s leading digital marketplace, a striking 84 per cent of consumers expect to spend more or the same amount on the platform next year. 

Despite the cost of living surging and interest rates creating pressure for Australian consumers, a substantial number of shoppers have yet to intend to reduce their e-commerce spending in 2023, as per Merline, a spokesperson from Pattern. 

Additionally, consumers’ demographic and shopping behaviour on digital marketplaces is evolving. High-income earners are the prime Amazon shoppers, accounting for 36 per cent of total shoppers compared to an average of 21 per cent.

Meanwhile, eBay predominantly attracts male shoppers, with 69 per cent of men purchasing from eBay as opposed to 55 per cent of women.

“Digital marketplaces are this year on a continued growth path and are becoming increasingly accepted and adopted as a shopping channel of choice by Australian consumers,” said Merline McGregor, General Manager, Pattern Australia. 

“However, with the cost of living pressures and an uncertain economic outlook, our report highlights how consumer behaviour is set to evolve again in the year ahead.” 

Marketplace Performance

Looking back at the previous year, 62 per cent of consumers made purchases on eBay, and 65 per cent plan to continue shopping on the platform in 2023. Similarly, 52 per cent of consumers shopped on Amazon in the past 12 months, with 59 per cent intending to make purchases on the platform this year. Amazon, with 43 per cent of shoppers having access to Amazon Prime, ranked as the second most popular marketplace, and is projected to see a 12 per cent increase in sales compared to last year.

According to SimilarWeb data, Amazon surpassed eBay in average monthly website visits (58.3 million Amazon visits versus 57.6 million eBay visits) from December 2022 to February 2023. In contrast, Catch received just 9.9 million visits over the same period, placing it far behind the two leading marketplaces.

Pattern’s research surveyed shoppers about their likely purchases in 2023 and the marketplaces they intend to use.

The results revealed that Amazon’s most popular categories are Books & eBooks and Home & Kitchen products, while eBay scored highest in Electronics & Computer Equipment and Home & Kitchen. Catch showed equal interest across Clothing, Shoes & Accessories, Toys, Kids & Baby products, and Home & Kitchen, and Kogan customers are primarily interested in Electronics and Home & Kitchen products. 

Additionally, shoppers tend to visit a brand’s own D2C (direct-to-consumer) website when purchasing Clothing, Shoes & Accessories, Skincare & Make-up, and Food goods.

“As consumer confidence increases on digital marketplaces, so does their desire to cross-shop and discover new categories. Likewise, as brands begin to include marketplaces in their growth strategy, consumers are met with more choice as the platforms add new products to cater towards a wider variety of consumer interests,” said Merline.

Marketplaces are becoming increasingly popular as product discovery hubs for online shoppers. According to the survey, 23 per cent of shoppers use digital marketplaces like eBay and Amazon to search for products, after Google which is the most popular channel for researching products online with 57 per cent of shoppers using it.

Of those who use Amazon, 62 per cent reported discovering a new brand on the platform, and 42 per cent of these shoppers went on to visit the brand’s D2C website.

Amazon has also become more popular as a customer research tool, with a 71 per cent increase in product searches in January 2023 compared to the previous year. On the other hand, eBay’s popularity as a research tool has decreased by 17 per cent over the same period.

The broad product diversity on digital marketplaces allows shoppers to fine-tune their search for particular items, making them appealing to those trying new brands online. Marketplaces build purchaser trust through real-world product reviews and informative answers to product page questions, providing valuable customer data.

“These findings demonstrate the ongoing appeal of marketplaces as product discovery platforms,” said Merline.

Here’s more: ‘Marketplace Consumer Trends Report – 2023

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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