As the popularity of online shopping continues to go gangbusters across Australia, and online sales in almost all retail categories track steadily upwards, the conditions couldn’t be riper for US e-commerce giant Amazon’s imminent Australian launch. Roy Morgan Research shines a spotlight on the country’s ongoing love affair with buying things over the internet.

In any given four-week period last year, just over 8.7 million Australians aged 14+ (44.2%) bought one or more products via the internet. This equates to more than 1.7 million additional shoppers per four weeks since 2013, when nearly 7 million Aussies (36.4%) shopped online in an average four weeks.

Entertainment and Leisure items account for the greatest number of internet shoppers, with 3.9 million people buying something from this category in any given four weeks, followed by Fashion (2.3 million), Food and Beverages (2.1 million) and Reading Material (2 million).

Online shopping product categories purchased in average four weeks: 2013 vs 2016

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Jan-Dec 2013 (n=18,576) and Jan-Dec 2016 (n=14,330).

Online shopping has risen for every product category in the chart above except baby products (which have remained stable). Between 2013 and 2016, Food and Beverages saw a proportional growth of 67% (from almost 1.3 million to just over 2.1 million buyers per four weeks), Health and Beauty purchasers increased by 51%, Fashion shoppers surged by 35% and people buying Home and Garden products rose by 64%.

Online shopping still primarily the domain of the tech savvy

But while online shopping is gaining ever-increasing momentum with Australian consumers from all walks of life, those most likely to make purchases this way still tend to be from the more technologically savvy end of the spectrum. Indeed, viewing these consumers through the lens of Roy Morgan’s Technology Adoption Segments reveals that more than half of all online shoppers (51.9%) fall under the umbrella of either Technology Early Adopters or Professional Technology Mainstream, the two most digitally inclined segments of the population.

As their name suggests, Technology Early Adopters are always the first to purchase and use new technologies, and tend to be well educated and high-earning. Whereas they comprise nearly 20% of the overall Australian population, they account for a fraction over 30% of all people who buy something online in an average four weeks.

Proportion of online shoppers by Technology Adoption Segment*

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2016 (n=14,330). *NB: Overall population breakdown of Technology Adoption Segments are as follows: Technology Early Adopters: 19.8%; Professional Technology Mainstream: 17.3%; Digital Life: 15.7%; Older Tech Explorers: 8.4%; Technology Traditionalists: 23.3%; Technophobes: 15.6%

Similarly, the ambitious, early-adopting Professional Technology Mainstream comprise just over 17% of the population and almost 22% of all online shoppers. Meanwhile, the less switched-on Technology Traditionalists and Technophobes are under-represented among Australia’s online shoppers.