Social-selling Australian businesses see 2-in-5 (38%) sales made via social channels – PayPal study
29 Oct 2019
The PayPal mCommerce Index 2019, released today, reveals that businesses that sell on social media platforms see an average of almost 2-in-5 (38%) sales being made via social channels.
Number of Australian businesses selling on social channels up 38% YoY (18% vs 13% in 2018)
  • Number of Australian businesses selling on social channels up 38% YoY (18% vs 13% in 2018) 
  • A third (33%) of online sales now taken via mobile (vs 25% in 2018) - 32% YoY growth
  • 55% of consumers are ‘Conscious Consumers’ showing the impact of environmental and ethical considerations on purchasing power

Tuesday, 29 October, Sydney: The PayPal mCommerce Index 2019, released today, reveals that businessesi that sell on social media platforms see an average of almost 2-in-5 (38%) sales being made via social channels.  Social commerce has grown rapidly in Australia with almost a fifth of (18%) of surveyed businesses now selling via social media, an increase of 38% YoY (13% in 2018), with an additional 21% of businesses indicating they intend to sell via social channels within the next six months.

Australian consumerii adoption of social commerce is higher than business adoption, with more than a quarter (27%) of surveyed consumers purchasing via social media in the last six months, a 42% YoY increase (19% in 2018 and 11% in 2017).  Social commerce adoption is particularly high for younger generations with 38% of Gen Z consumers and 36% of Gen Y consumers purchasing via social media in the last six months.

21% of social media shoppers purchase or pay at least weekly via social media with an average monthly spend of AU$121.  With 50% more consumers buying on social (27%) than businesses selling on social (18%), there’s a clear opportunity for Australian businesses who are prepared to embrace social as a sales channel.

Social Commerce – Most Significant e-Commerce Trend

Libby Roy, PayPal Australia Managing Director said: “Selling and shopping via social channels has experienced rapid growth as the line between social media and e-commerce continues to blur.  The incredible amount of time people spend – especially younger people – on social media has positioned social commerce as the biggest trend we’ll see in online commerce over the next five years.  38% of Generation Z social shoppers buy on social channels at least weekly, almost double the frequency of the average social shopper (21%).

“The rapid rise of social commerce highlights the growing complexity of modern retail and the pressure on brands to effectively deliver omni-channel sales and marketing across all devices, applications and platforms.  With Gen Y and Gen Z almost constantly connected, mainly on social channels, and on track to become the largest consumer generation, the importance of social commerce is obvious,” said Libby Roy.

Australian businesses of all sizes are very active in using social media to promote their businesses.  83% of surveyed businesses promote themselves via social channels, with 28% promoting themselves at least daily and almost 3-in-5 (59%) promoting themselves at least once a week.  Only 17% of businesses do not have a social media presence.

Facebook remains the most popular social commerce platform for Australian social media shoppers (83% vs 81% in 2018), followed by Instagram, which has seen the largest growth (34% vs 25% in 2018), Snapchat (12% vs. 9% in 2018) and Pinterest (12% vs. 6% in 2018).  This order of popularity is mirrored by business social sellers with 75% selling via Facebook, 56% via Instagram, 33% via Snapchat and 13% via Pinterest.

Mobile Commerce – Convenience and Security Critical

The PayPal mCommerce Index found that mobile purchasing has continued to grow in Australia, most notably the frequency of mobile shopping has increased.  More than half (55%) of Australian consumers pay or purchase via mobile devices at least weekly, up from 48% in 2018 (15% YoY increase).

This is even higher for younger shoppers with 73% of both Gen Z and Gen Y mobile shopping at least weekly.  Additionally, almost 1-in-5 (18%) consumers mobile shop on a daily basis, with almost a third (32%) of Gen Z shopping on their mobiles daily.

Preference for mobile devices has also continued to rise with 41% of consumers now preferring to online shop on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet – up 11% YoY from 37% in 2018) compared to 33% on laptop/notebook and 23% on a desktop.

The increased frequency of, and preference for, mobile shopping has led to a steady growth in the average percentage of sales taken via mobile channels.  Across all businesses surveyed, a third (33%) of online sales were taken via mobile devices, representing a growth of 32% YoY (25% in 2018, 19% in 2017, 13% in 2016) and showing the growing importance of mobile as a channel.

Looking specifically at smartphones, nearly a third of consumers (32% vs 27% in 2018) prefer smartphones over any other device for making online purchases – a figure that has increased steadily and is 78% higher than inaugural results in 2016 (18%).  Smartphones are the preferred shopping device for half of all consumers under 35 years (49%).

Libby Roy, PayPal Australia Managing Director said: “In Australia, where almost 90%iii of the population has a smartphone and people carry their phones with them everywhere – while they’re sitting at home on their couch, in the office, on public transport and in shopping centres – it’s inevitable that our shopping habits have evolved to include this indispensable tool for our lives.

“Smartphones are driving a convergence across all channels for retail, but the fundamentals of customer service have not changed.  While convenience and time-savings are key drivers, security and trust issues are the top concern (63%) that make consumers less likely to interact with businesses on a mobile device,” said Libby Roy.

The gap between the number of consumers purchasing via mobile and business readiness to accept mobile payments continues to narrow.  Three quarters of consumers (73% vs 72% in 2018) now shop on their mobile devices (smartphones or tablet) – a figure that rises to 87% for consumers under 35 years of age.  60% of business respondents now optimised to accept mobile payments (vs 55% in 2018) an increase of 9% YoY.

Conscious Consumers Call for Value-driven Brands, Products and Services

In this year’s PayPal mCommerce Index, we asked a series of questions to find out how consumers and businesses are thinking and behaving in relation to environmental, fair-trade and ethical considerations when it comes to shopping and selling in digital environments.  Consumers who had made at least five values-based purchasing decisions or held values-driven purchasing attitudes in the last 12 months were considered ‘Conscious Consumersiv.

55% of Australian consumer respondents were identified as Conscious Consumers who had made ethically-based purchasing decisions or held values-driven attitudes to purchasing in the last 12 months.

Consumers under 35 years are most likely to be Conscious Consumers (66%) and to make purchase decisions for environmental or other ethical reasons, with that likelihood reducing for older consumers (35-49 years 55%; 50+ years 46%).  One-in-10 consumers (10%) has boycotted a brand because of their values, a number that increases to 1-in-5 for Gen Z (19%); 14% had purchased a product specifically because it was sustainably produced or environmentally friendly and 10% of consumers buy environmentally-sustainable products and services wherever possible, regardless of price.

Additionally, 11% of Australian consumers believe that fast fashion should have added levies to cover environmental impact, and 19% agree that companies should be banned from destroying unsold clothing.

Australian businesses are attuned to this changing consumer sentiment with three quarters (75%) agreeing that businesses need to adapt to consumer demand for more ethical products and services and 62% saying that an increasing number of customers make purchasing decisions based on the values they think a company holds.

“Australians, more than ever, are looking beyond the label to the impact their purchases have – environmentally, socially and in terms of fair-trade.  With 55% of Australians displaying conscious consumer behaviours, customers want more ethically produced and environmentally friendly products.  Every buying decision has the power to change the world a little and I believe we’re seeing the beginning of a shift to sustainability, being driven primarily by the young,” said Libby Roy.

Cost is a consideration for both consumers and businesses, with 2-in-5 Australian businesses (41%) saying that while they’d like to sell more ethical products or services it’s too expensive and 1-in-6 consumers (16%) saying they try to buy sustainable products and services but can’t always afford to.

Despite business awareness of changing consumer attitudes, 60% of businesses said price, product or service features and convenience are more important to Australian customers than ethical considerations.  This is in stark contrast to our findings among consumers, where only 14% said they don’t consider anything beyond price, product or service features before purchasing.

About the PayPal mCommerce Index 2019

The PayPal mCommerce Index 2019 surveys the payment patterns and expectations of both consumer smartphone users and online businesses and provides insights into the mobile commerce landscape. The research was commissioned by PayPal Inc.and fieldwork was conducted by Ipsos between Tuesday 23 July and Sunday 25 August 2019.

Respondents completed an online self-completion survey, with a total of 22,000 consumersii and 4,602 businessesi, across 11 markets taking part in the research. Approximately 2,000 consumers  and 300-500 business decision makers (i) were surveyed from each market: UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, India, Japan, USA, Mexico, Brazil.

Sample was sourced through consumer and business research panels, with participants incentivised for completing the survey. The research was carried out to the international quality standard for market research, ISO 20252:2012.

About PayPal

PayPal has remained at the forefront of the digital payment revolution for more than 20 years. By leveraging technology to make financial services and commerce more convenient, affordable, and secure, the PayPal platform is empowering more than 286 million consumers and merchants in more than 200 markets to join and thrive in the global economy. For more information, visit paypal.com.

About PayPal Australia

PayPal has been operating in Australia since 2005 and has more than 8 million active customer accounts. PayPal enables Australian businesses to transact online and offline, from sole proprietors and developers to established large merchants. The PayPal service is provided by PayPal Australia Pty Limited (ABN 93 111 195 389) which holds an Australian Financial Services Licence number 304962. Visit www.paypal-media.com/au for more information and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and our PayPal Stories blog.

Press Contact

To contact PayPal Australia media team, please email paypal@edelman.com

i Businesses – the 2019 PayPal mCommerce Index research surveyed key decision makers from businesses that sell to or take payments online from consumers (n=300)
ii. Consumers – the 2019 PayPal mCommerce Index research surveyed adults aged 18+ who are smartphone owners/users (n=2000)
iii. https://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/media-releases/articles/australias-deepening-love-affair-with-smartphones-031218.html
iv. Conscious Consumers – Any 5 of the following:  CQ35. Thinking about online purchasing generally, which of the following have you done in the past 12 mths?  4. Stopped purchasing products or services from a brand/retailer/company because of their values; 5. Checked ‘watchdog’ sites to identify ethical companies; 6. Purchased a product because it was sustainably produced or environmentally friendly; 7. Did not purchase a product due to environmental concerns / for environmental reasons; 8. Purchased a product because it was ‘fairtrade’; 9. Did not purchase a product due to brand’s fairtrade policy or behaviours; 10. Made a purchase due to a brand’s stance on diversity and inclusion; 11. Did not make a purchase due to a brand’s stance on diversity and inclusion; 12. Bought environmentally sustainable products or services wherever possible, regardless of price; 13. Used information from social media to actively avoid brands based on accounts of their values / behaviours / environmental impact; 14. Used information from social media to actively choose brands based on accounts of their values / behaviours / environmental impact
CQ37.  Which of the following statements, if any, apply to you personally?  2. I prefer to make online purchases from companies trying to reduce their impact on the environment; 3. The government should ban the destruction of unsold clothing by retailers; 4. I have felt guilty after buying products or services that are not environmentally sustainable; 5. I try to buy products or services that are produced sustainably but can’t always afford to; 9.  It is difficult to check if a company operates ethically/sustainably or not; 11. The government should introduce a levy on fast fashion items to cover their environmental impact (n=1087)

Appendix: - Key definitions & Technical note

Social selling Australian businesses – currently accept payments via social media sites / apps (n=55)

Generational Ages as at 2019: 

Gen Z (18-24 years) (n=266); Gen Y (25-36 years) (n=481); Gen X (37-51 years) (n=554); Baby Boomer (52-66 years) (n=372); Older Australians (67+ years) (n=327).

A full list of definitions and the Australian market mCommerce Index 2019 research report can be found here.

Previous years’ mCommerce Index annual reports for 2016, 2017 and 2018 can be found here.

For further information: To contact PayPal Australia media team, please email paypal@edelman.com
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