In keeping with our cover story, all the news in this issue – that you’re reading over the internet, via your computer or mobile device screen – is about things done over the internet, via a computer or mobile device screen. How very 2013.
MOBILE BANKING WILL OVERTAKE ONLINE: WESTPAC
8 November – Banking via mobile phones and tablets will become more common than online banking via computer in the next five years, according to Westpac’s group executive of retail and business banking Jason Yetton.
The bank estimates that the number of payments made across its digital platforms will exceed one billion transactions within five years, with a total value of $6.8 trillion.
Westpac expects that total to include 5.2 million mobile customers and five million online customers by 2018.
Around 1.58 million Westpac customers currently use their mobile devices for banking transactions, and 3.4 million use ordinary online banking.
“Our experience is that the take-up of mobile banking is much faster than any previous technological innovation in banking,” said Yetton.
“Over the next five years we expect the gap between online and mobile to narrow sharply, with active mobile and online users each reaching the five million mark and mobile overtaking online users in 2017-18.”
BRAINTREE LAUNCHES MOBILE PAYMENT PLATFORM IN AUSTRALIA
15 November – The mobile payments start-up behind Angry Birds is launching its service in Australia as a challenger to PayPal.
The move is part of Braintree’s ambitious expansion plan to roll out its online payments platform into more than 30 countries this year.
Launched in the US in 2007, Braintree already processes more than US$5 billion in payments annually and has clients in 31 countries.
Chief executive officer Bill Ready said that e-commerce in Australia is “exploding,” with online and mobile payments expected to double to $22 billion next year.
“However, start-ups in Australia have faced challenges in getting their businesses off the ground because of antiquated payment software that can be difficult to integrate,” he added.
“Braintree’s payment platform allows developers to integrate in minutes rather than months and provides tools for next-generation commerce experiences such as mobile payments.
“Once up and running on the Braintree platform, Australian start-ups will be able to accept payments in foreign currencies around the globe.”
Ready claimed the service it provides is becoming increasingly vital, because 20 per cent of shopping sessions are now occurring on mobile devices.
RETAILERS REPORT RECORD SALES DESPITE CLICK FRENZY CRASH
21 November – Retailers have deemed the Click Frenzy event a success, despite the website for the 24-hour online sale crashing under the volume of traffic last night.
Both Myer and David Jones said it was their biggest day for online sales ever.
A spokesperson for Myer said its own website withstood the traffic to process “significantly” more online sales than usual.
“We were very pleased with the customer traffic through to our online site during the Click Frenzy event,” he told AAP.
Big retailer David Jones did not directly take part in the event, instead running its own promotion – but its own website also crashed.
Chief executive Paul Zahra said the meltdown didn’t prevent the shop from having a record day of online and in-store sales.
“It was truly a phenomenal event,” he told reporters.
Since its relaunch on 8 November, the new David Jones website has attracted double the visitors and triple the sales it was receiving previously.
WOOLWORTHS AIMS FOR $1 BILLION ONLINE SALES
22 November – Supermarket chain Woolworths aims to achieve $1 billion in online sales by the end of 2014 as it seeks to enhance its delivery of “multi-option retailing”.
The company claims there will be no net job losses as it seeks to concentrate more on its online business.
“Some commentators have suggested the advent of multi-option retailing will have a negative impact on Australian jobs,” said Woolworths in a corporate social responsibility report released yesterday.
“This is simply not true. Retail has always been and will always be a highly people-focused industry.
“But the nature of those retail jobs will change in some ways over time and multi-option is a major driver of that change.”
Woolworths employs more than 195,000 people and its turnover was $55.5 billion in the last financial year.
The company is in the process of launching Australia’s first home improvement online store under the Masters brand.
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING GOING MOBILE
11 December – Data from online payment platform PayPal shows that Australians are increasingly doing their shopping on mobile devices as Christmas draws near.
PayPal Australia expects 22 per cent of Australians to make $5.6 billion worth of purchases on their mobile phones over this festive season, compared with $155 million in 2010.
This percentage of people has already made at least one purchase on a mobile device during the last five weeks.
PayPal managing director Jeff Clementz said that 30 per cent of transactions on mobile devices were made between 8pm and midnight, suggesting that people were using them to continue the ‘in-store’ experience after conventional shops closed.
“Additionally we are seeing consumers shop in short, mission-focused bursts on mobile devices as they knock items off their Christmas list while commuting or relaxing at home,” he added.
Clementz said he expected mobile shopping to continue increasing up until a few days before Christmas, after which consumers will take to the streets for last-minute buys.
Australian National Retailers Association chief executive Margy Osmond said this was “the most digitally connected Christmas that we’ve seen”.
She claimed part of the reason people were using mobile devices to shop was down to the restricted trading hours of brick-and-mortar stores.
“The Productivity Commission recommended when it came out with its report into the retail industry two years ago that there needed to be a complete deregulation of trading hours,” Osmond said.
“That’s about recognising that when people want to shop and how they want to shop has changed and consumers need to be given as many options as possible.”
ONLINE SHOPPING GROWS 27 PER CENT IN 2012
8 January – Australians spent $12.6 billion on online shopping in the 12 months to November, pushing the total 27 per cent higher than 2011’s figure.
The National Australia Bank (NAB) Retail Sales Index showed that, although online sales were still only 5.7 per cent of those from bricks-and-mortar shops, traditional retail grew only 2.6 per cent year-over-year.
NAB chief economist Alan Oster said the online sales surge in November fit in with the tradition of consumers ordering early in order to ensure delivery before Christmas.
He added that it would be interesting to see if December 2012’s results showed consumers being more confident to order closer to Christmas than in previous years, due to online shopping becoming more mainstream.