Influence of technology in Australia’s thriving digital economy and evolving consumer trends
Welcome to Australia, the land down under. As we set foot into post-pandemic life, a lot has changed since 2020. Speaking about change, Australian consumers have responded very well to all kinds of situations around them during both; the pre-pandemic and post-pandemic times. Today, we will largely delve into understanding Australian consumer behaviour in the digital world.
What are the latest consumer trends? How do consumers in Australia embrace technology? We will find answers to these questions in this article. As countries across the globe push to create a digital future, Australia is no exception. A Gartner report states that Australian consumers are expected to spend more than A$109 billion in 2022.
While the commercial sector is on board with digital transformation, the agenda of corporate Australia is no different. In the report, Gartner has also highlighted how organizations should embrace business compossibility to enjoy success in the long run.
Businesses in Australia continue to strive to create a digital future and rethink their strategies around this theme. Business leaders need to identify the need for agile solutions that support business compossibility.
The foundations for digital transformation are strong in Australia. Australian consumers have been at the forefront in embracing innovations and technologies. Without further delay, let’s look at a few key tech trends currently dominating the Australian market.
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Consumers and businesses walk toward a digital future in Australia
On the ground, consumers are keen on using the latest tech gadgets, shopping online, patronizing e-commerce stores, and using mobile applications to book movie tickets, make an appointment at the dentist, reserve a table in a restaurant, and more.
On the corporate front, businesses are embracing technology to stay ahead of the curve. Besides, business leaders have recognized the need to leverage innovations and technologies to stay competitive in the current business landscape. Corporate and consumer trends in Australia point toward one direction and that is; a digital future.
Australian consumers and businesses are embracing sustainable IT
The echoes of global warming and climate change have compelled the technology sector to seek greener and more sustainable alternatives. In the current scenario, sustainable IT is the need of the hour. But what does it mean?
Sustainable IT primarily refers to an eco-friendly approach to using, designing, and disposing of electronic hardware and software applications. Companies operating in the IT space should make conscious efforts to educate their customers and end-users about how they should dispose of tech hardware sustainably.
Australian consumers are also inclined toward purchasing products from companies that have a low carbon footprint. Many businesses have sped up plans to minimize their carbon footprint to ensure we attain carbon neutrality by 2050.
Cloud-first IT strategies are in vogue
Over the past few years, the demand for cloud-first IT strategies has witnessed noteworthy growth. Thus, investments toward building improved cloud infrastructure and technologies are also growing.
The Tech Council of Australia (TCA) aims to accelerate digital transformation across Australia by encouraging companies to deploy cloud-first IT strategies. The TCA is set on a mission to make Australia the go-to destination to begin and scale-up cloud-first IT infrastructure and companies. The TCA is touted to play an important role in ushering the country back to normalcy after the setback from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Google announced it would invest A$1 billion (US$740 million) in Australia over the next five years, developing a research hub, expanding its cloud computing capabilities, and supporting collaborations with regional organizations.
Google’s Digital Future Initiative will create around 28,000 new jobs overall and 6,000 new direct positions in Australia. It will strengthen regional digital economic infrastructure.
Today, firms must adopt cloud-first infrastructure if they do not wish to fall behind.
Consumers push businesses to improve operations and replace outdated tech
Today, many businesses across Australia are looking for technologies that help them strengthen their relationship with customers. This is primarily because Australian consumer trends show that today’s consumers are looking beyond the product or service. Customers want better service, seamless experience, and to some extent, a flavour of personalization while interacting with businesses.
To cater to this consumer behaviour, businesses are turning to technologies that offer favourable operational leverage. Digital transformation, which was once deemed “complex” and “intimidating”, no longer carries that image in the Australian business world.
As consumer behaviour changes, businesses have recognized the need to offer tech-savvy support and service to their consumers and employees. Against the backdrop of this trend, business leaders are turning to automation to minimize friction across business functions.
Consumer trends suggest that online shopping has gained popularity
The value of the Australian online shopping sector stands at $47 billion in 2022. Today, over 5 million Australian households shop online every month.
The COVID-19 pandemic has done its bit to change consumer trends and behaviour in Australia. Since consumers could not visit brick-and-mortar stores for almost a year around 2020, online shopping became very popular. The growth of online shopping has increased consumer footfall on e-commerce websites. In the digital world, we call it web traffic.
In 2022, despite all COVID-related restrictions lifted by the government, consumer trends show that online shopping in Australia will remain popular.
The online shopping market has witnessed a 20% year-on-year growth in Australia between 2017-2022.
What is driving this consumer trend in Australia? At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, consumers turned to online shopping because of a lack of alternatives, personal safety, and endless government restrictions. Today, in 2022, the factors driving this consumer trend have changed. Convenience, value for money, and access to a dazzling array of products are the primary reasons online shopping is successful even in 2022.
Will consumer behaviour change again? Time will tell.
Consumers expect sustainability from retail shops
Consumers demand sustainability. We discussed how big tech companies are turning to greener and more sustainable alternatives. The expectation from online retail shops remains the same. The push for sustainable packaging and practices has intensified over the past few years – a consumer trend that will continue in the future.
Nearly 80% of Australian consumers care about environmental sustainability. Many have also identified packaging as a key area where online retailers can do their bit to become more sustainable. Using eco-friendly materials is a good start. Online retailers may lose customers if they do not pay heed to these customer expectations.
Consumers in Australia are more inclined toward purchasing sustainable products – be they fashion or fast-moving consumer goods. Another consumer trend that is worth mentioning is the noteworthy rise in the number of online searches for sustainable products.
Consumers are becoming more conscious about the environment. Therefore, brands should acknowledge this consumer trend and work toward environment-friendliness and sustainability.
The rise and rise of digital payments
We have seen noteworthy changes in the manner in which consumers spend and send money. Today, a large chunk of the population makes digital payments either by card or an online wallet. When we speak about online or digital payments, it is impossible to not ignore buy-now-pay-later (BNPL). It is arguably the fastest-growing payment method in Australia, because of high interest from the Gen-Z population.
BNPL does exactly what it says. It gives users the option to gain both goods and services without paying for them at the time of purchase. Instead, the payment is made in instalments over some time. Because BNPL services do not charge interest on the repayments, they enjoy the benefits of a legal exception and sidestep the National Credit Act’s regulations.
While Australians have accepted this payment option, there are risks involved. According to estimates, 30% of Australians used the BNPL payment option last year. Among these, 50% have made late payments, and 78% of those have experienced some type of financial hardship.
There are many suggestions that Australia should adopt the strategy used by the United Kingdom and start an independent review of the BNPL industry. This would pinpoint any potential problems before establishing the security measures to ensure that these services are safe for the Australian population.
Advances in tech will continue to influence consumer trends worldwide. Australian consumers are no strangers to tech innovations and have often embraced digital advances warmly. Right from the corporate world to the retail sector, the push for digital transformation is clear in Australia.
In addition, government regulations, private entities, and rapidly evolving consumer behaviour have provided fertile grounds for the growth of the tech industry in Australia.
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 Moore.S (2021) “Gartner Forecasts IT Spending in Australia to Grow 6.5% in 2022” Gartner [online] Accessed [September 2022]
    Chavda. S (2022) “Australia’s Online Shopping Behaviour Report – 2022” Savvy [online] Available from: https://www.savvy.com.au/australias-online-shopping-behaviour-report-2022/ [online] Accessed [September 2022]