THERE are just 32 shopping days left until Christmas, but giftbuyers won’t just pack shopping centres this Christmas.
Millions will trade heavy lifting, carpark rage and queue shuffling for the near-effortless clicking of online shopping.
And some online shoppers who consider that too onerous won’t even bother turning on a computer to make a purchase — opting to use a smartphone instead. Figures released last week show more than four million Australians are checking product prices on mobile phones before committing to buy.
Google Australia’s retail head predicts the trend will skyrocket in the lead-up to December 25.
Ross Mcdonald says 2011 has been the biggest for online shopping in Australia, eclipsing last year’s record driven by the strong Aussie dollar.
But while shopping searches are up 29 per cent, Mcdonald says those made on smartphones are growing even faster.
‘‘ At the moment mobile searches make up one in four Picture: Chris Pavlich online shopping inquiries but we think it will get up to one in three in the three weeks leading up to Christmas,’’ he says.
‘‘ Online purchases are certainly growing and the challenge will be that we’re still in a market where not all of our favourite retailers have a fully functional online presence.’’
A study by Galaxy Research for ebay shows more than 4 million smartphone users have compared product prices on the go, and 1.3 million used a phone to buy items.
Fifteen per cent of those buyers did so while standing in a retail store — something ebay Australia vice-president Deborah Sharkey says shows online shopping is crossing boundaries now there are ‘‘ portable shop windows sitting in consumers’ pockets’’.
The Australian Media and Communications Authority’s new e-commerce report shows mobile purchases up 66 per cent from the past year.
But report author Joseph Di Gregorio says this increase came from a low base, with six times as many people using mobile banking as those buying goods on their mobile phones.
He says online shopping is now a major retail trend in Australia, with more than half of net-connected adults taking part, and 23 per cent making more than 11 online purchases in six months. ‘‘ Many said it was cheaper (to buy online), there’s a better range of goods and services, and it’s often the convenience of online shopping that works for time-poor consumers,’’ he says.
Beat the Christmas crowds by buying online.