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Consumers more loyal than retailers give them credit for

New research from Ebay Australia suggests consumers may be more loyal than retailers give them credit for.

A July survey of 1,006 online small business retailers and 1,003 online consumers revealed that one in five online shoppers will actively seek out smaller Australian sellers as a result of Amazon entering the market.

Nearly one in three shoppers said their shopping habits won’t change, regardless of new players to the retail market.

The research also revealed that Queenslanders are most likely to actively seek out smaller Australian retailers, followed closely by New South Wales residents and Victorians.

Most businesses, however, believe Amazon’s entry will cause small business market share or customer loss, with 60 per cent believing it likely or very likely.

According to Gavin Dennis, CFO and head of retail insights for Ebay Australia, media hype around Amazon is causing unnecessary angst among small businesses and leading to this discrepancy.

“In the world of small business, many owners have concerns around where they will fit in the buyer mindset when bigger international players enter the market. However, Australian online shoppers are telling us that the concern is unfounded – with many suggesting they will be seeking out Australian small businesses as a counter to this market change,” he said.

At the same time, two in five small businesses see Amazon’s entry into Australia as an opportunity to forge more partnerships between big and small businesses, as well as creating more healthy competition.

“The Australian small business sector is extremely important to our country’s economic prosperity, and in the online SMB space we are constantly seeing innovation and a leveraging of their ability to be nimble. SMBs are best placed to deliver unique experiences, great customer service and the broadest inventory,” Dennis said.

“Change is necessary and inevitable for progress, and the online small businesses who understand this are the ones who will remain a step ahead of their competition and use their unique selling points to their advantage.

“I’d encourage our small businesses to leverage this vital asset as the Australian retail sector moves into just another phase of change. I expect to see small businesses taking this shift in their stride and continuing to prosper.”

According to the survey, a mere 4 per cent of online shoppers said they would exclusively use Amazon when it enters, with 29 per cent suggesting they would continue to use a variety of platforms.

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