Fashion retailers in Australia are investing more money in e-commerce platforms to remain relevant and win back market share from overseas.
This is according to new research by IBISWorld, which highlighted a trend in established bricks-and-mortar businesses looking to adopt multichannel strategies.
The organisation noted that women’s fashion brands such as Just Group have now evolved into ‘bricks and clicks’ retailers, enabling them to snatch back business from online-only stores.
“These multichannel retailers now account for 42.8 per cent of online women’s clothing sales in Australia and are quickly gaining ground on the pure-play retailers, which represent 57.2 per cent of sales,” IBISWorld stated.
However, Australian retailers still face stiff competition from overseas sellers, despite recent depreciation in the Aussie dollar making domestic purchases more enticing.
IBISWorld said: “Although price is an important aspect driving demand for international online retailers, more than half of consumers choose to purchase clothing from overseas due to the greater range of products available.”
According to the firm, the lack of an uplift in domestic sales is because overseas products remain “substantially cheaper”, negating any positive fluctuations in the exchange rate.
Compared with people from other developed countries, Australians are the most active users of offshore online retailing, although this could be set to change.
Expensive shipping charges imposed by overseas retailers are encouraging Australians to look closer to home for their goods and services.
“The outlook for domestic retailers is optimistic, as continued investment in online platforms is expected to contribute to stronger consumer demand,” IBISWorld noted.
As retailing in Australia carves out a bigger market share, demand for international services will begin to soften, it added.
Increased use of smartphones and tablets for mobile shopping will help to fuel more online purchases, the organisation concluded.