Social media trends in Australia – how they may affect eCommerce

Sensis has recently published a new report about social media use among Australian consumers and businesses in 2015, in this post I’ll outline most important and interesting trends that affect eCommerce businesses.

Social media use in general

The number of Australians using social media stabilised at 68% (it actually fell a bit, used to be 69% last year) and so did frequency of use in general. There was a slight increase of  extremes, that is very frequent and occasional users. In 2015 49% of respondents stated that use social media at least once per day and approximately half of these people use social media more than 5 times daily.

Not surprisingly, younger generation uses social media more often (79% of 18-29 age bracket with 17% in 64+ bracket for everyday use).

Also interesting,  is that 32% of respondents who use social media do so at work, a big increase from 21% just one year ago.

Another interesting change that average number of followers/friends dropped from 328 last year to 297. Number of contacts decreases with age and for some reason very high for respondents who live in Northern Territory (534).

Most people surveyed (71%),  plan to keep to their social media habits in the future and consider it to be OK.

The smartphone is now the most popular device to access social media, used by 70% of respondents, followed by laptops (52%) and tablets (34%). Share of people using smartphones more than doubled since 2011. 75% of respondents use apps to access social media from mobile devices.

What social media websites are popular

Facebook, while lost a bit in popularity is still the most popular, used by 93% of Australians who use social media. It is also the most sticky platform, with average time on website being 16.64 minutes, much more than the time people spend on LinkedIn, Twitter, G+ and Instagram.


Twitter is the social network that had the biggest drop off rate with 39%. It is followed by Facebook (19%) and Snapchat (17%).

Social Media and TV

Multi tasking social media together with TV is getting less popular.  The share of people who discuss TV programs on social media while watching dropped from 30% to 25% this year and less people (33% versus 41% in 2014) believe that chatting about TV program in social networks increases the level of enjoyment.

Why people use social media and is there a place for business to engage

It’s not a big surprise, but a major driver to using social media is to stay in touch with friends and family. However, businesses can still be noticed on social media, below are the main benefactors:

  • 24% of people use social media to follow or find out about brands and businesses (drop from 32% last year)
  • 20% use social media to research travel destinations
  • 20% follow brands to access special offers and promotions
  • 19%  – research products and services
  • 11% – provide reviews/feedback on the products they purchased

Younger people are more inclined to be part of all the activities stated above.

What product categories people look for in social media

While suffering a bit of a decrease, fashion is the most popular product category to be researched via social media.

For almost half the people surveyed ended up purchasing and 63% of those purchases were online.

What people expect from brands in social media

32% of Australians follows businesses and brands in social networks. The expectations of followers still significantly focused on discounts (45%), giveaways and coupons, while some people value opportunity for feedback, tips, advice and product information.

Attitude to advertising

It isn’t easy for businesses to get attention on consumers in social media now:

  • 72% ignore promoted posts from businesses they don’t follow
  • 55% believe that they don’t pay any notice to social network ads
  • 33% are turned off by companies and brand ads in social networks

However 42% sometimes click to ads they see in social networks.

Conclusions and recommendations: social media and eCommerce

  • Let’s face it, for businesses it is getting harder to engage with customers via social media, especially if your brand is new for them –  some consider sales messages as an intrusion in their personal space.
  • However, as a business you don’t really have a choice, you need to follow your existing customers, and in return your customers expect you to be there, when they want to engage. Also your new customers may use social media to find out more about your products and services
  • Ecommerce businesses, especially for those in the fashion industry still may get good ROI. A well thought out content strategy and website mechanics to create sharing, reviews and advocacy are strongly suggested here.
  • Choose your social media platform wisely, especially if you have limited budget – you probably have to use Facebook, as it is number one platform, but other social media networks require further research and prioritisation
  • Use social media effectively, it is a different media from say TV or other channels, a direct sales pitch will not work very well here, so you need to craft your message more carefully. Try creating content that adds value to the customers life.
  • Many people still like to give reviews, you need to be able to leverage on this and respond in a timely manner. Look after your advocates they are important for your business growth,
  • Listen, respond, experiment, measure, analyse and tweak/revise your strategy and tactic


More about the report

Sample size

Sensis surveyed 1100 Australian businesses and 800 consumers, which is considerable sizeable sample.


Full Sensis  report, well worth checking  –

Images (charts) on this page are part of Sensis report referred above

Get fresh eCommerce insights weekly

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

No, I don't need insights. Just close this pop-up

Consider changing your eCommerce platform?

Learn how to avoid nine deadly mistakes that can ruin your business.

Get free whitepaper from Magenable

Get whitepaper

Get free whitepaper!