The ease of purchasing items from the comfort of one’s own home is a driving factor. Perhaps more importantly is the ability to find the best prices and do easy research in only a matter of minutes. Though these facts are true no matter where a consumer lives, Australians are some of the most active online shoppers. The National Australia Bank says that online shopping amounted to about $11.7 billion in 2011. Recent surveys show that this trend will only continue in the future.

According to professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, 9.6 million Australians will or have made online purchases in 2012. Among those 9.6 million, nearly 90 percent expect to either continue with their rate of shopping or will increase the amount of online purchases they make. This survey asked respondents what drives them to use online merchants rather than traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Along with the collective desire for the best prices, they also stated that they enjoy the vast variety of items available at their fingertips. Brand awareness also seemed to be a factor in online purchases. The more time a consumer spends online, the more apt he or she is to recognize and subsequently buy a product.

The increase in use of mobile devices also lends to the rise in online shopping in Australia. Other surveys conducted throughout the past year have shown a steady increase in the level of shoppers who access the Internet away from home. A shopper can physically be in a retail establishment while comparing prices online.

Australians also enjoy online shopping because they can easily purchase items from overseas. About half of Australian shoppers, according to the CCi Digital Futures Project, purchase from retailers who are based outside of the country. Shopping from these retailers has been made simple but is also viewed as safer than ever. However, one of the key concerns for online shoppers is fast shipping rates. Australian companies that wish to retain their customer base can capitalize on the fact that they can offer same day or next day shipping whereas overseas locations generally cannot.

Naysayers have long suggested that brick-and-mortar stores will prevail as the excitement over technology fades. The experts disagree. They state that the trend of online shopping will continue to grow at a rapid pace. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that the dollars spent will reach $27 billion within the next five years.