Men continue to spend more than women online, with gender stereotypes playing out, as men dominate take-away food and video game purchases, while women spend more on fashion and cosmetics, according to the 2016 Sensis eBusiness Report.¹

Despite again spending more than women for the year, male spending dropped significantly from $6,500 to $3,600, while female spending was up from $2,400 to $3,100.

Sensis Commercial Director, Rob Tolliday said: “The purchasing behaviours don’t follow gender stereotypes in all cases. The number of males buying groceries jumped this year, with very little now separating males and females. And one in ten men are now also buying cosmetics online, which is almost half the number of women.”

The study, from digital expert Sensis, surveyed 1,000 Australian small and medium businesses and 800 Australian consumers about their online experiences and found that more than seven in 10 Australians (71%) made purchases online this year, up 10 percentage points from last year.

“While more Australian’s are making purchases online, they remain uneasy about using e-commerce. Hacking is by far the biggest concern, with 85% worrying about their private information being stolen or misused and the same number worrying about their credit card details,” said Mr Tolliday.

Streaming services are impacting on device ownership in the home, with penetration of digital TVs (down from 70% to 61%), pay TV (down from 31% to 27%) and 3D TV (down from 17% to 11%) all going backwards this year.

“Netflix and other streaming services are changing the way we consume entertainment in the home. They also appear to be making us fussier. Satisfaction with home internet speeds has declined, with one in four now grumpy about how long their content takes to load,” said Mr Tolliday.

Overseas purchases increased slightly, up from 21% to 23%, but local sales continue to dominate online. More than two thirds of Australian SMBs (67%) are primarily selling to businesses in their local city or town, while only 2% make most of their sales to overseas customers.

Of businesses with the internet 54% now sell online, with online sales growing from 32% to 43% of their total sales over the past four years.

“While sites such as Amazon offer consumers more choice, the falling Aussie dollar has seen overseas purchases remain steady, with less than a quarter of online purchases being made on overseas sites,” said Mr Tolliday.

“From a business perspective e-commerce is increasingly important as fewer shops have a physical store front and those that do have to battle with major overseas retailers who have landed in the key shopping strips.”

¹Items booked or purchased online in Australia in 2016 by gender

Overall, the most popular items bought online are airline tickets (up from 47% to 53%), clothing, accessories or shoes (up from 51% to 57%) and hotel reservations (up from 47% to 53%).

Not surprisingly, the survey found that people in regional areas are much less likely to have made online purchases. Less than one in five booked a restaurant online (18% regional vs 35% metro) and a similar amount booked a medical appointment via the web (20% regional vs 26% metro).

“While people in regional areas are less likely to make online purchases, when it comes to technology in the home, they are more likely to have a digital TV than their friends in the city, with ownership rates now at 65 percent,” said Mr Tolliday.