While many in the industry continue to agonise over the possible effects of a giant like Amazon entering the market, new research suggests small and medium businesses (SMBs) needn’t be too concerned.
In a survey of online shoppers, eBay found that one in five consumers will actively seek out smaller Australian sellers as competition heats up, and nearly a third (33 per cent) said their shopping habits won’t charge regardless of new players in the retail market.
Despite this, the survey found that online small businesses see Amazon as direct threat, with 60 per cent stating they believe the company’s predicted entry was likely or very likely to cause market share or customer loss.
eBay Australia CFO and head of retail insights Gavin Dennis said speculation about the impact of increased international competition could be causing unnecessary angst.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Many Australian SMBs see Amazon as a direct threat.
Some business owners also said they see competition as a threat to their livelihood, with 33 per cent stating they believe SMBs could be forced to shut down if international competition significantly increases.
However, 42 per cent of small business owners also saw the positive side, stating that the entry of overseas competitors will create a platform to breed more partnerships between those on the big and small sides of town, quickening the pace of innovation.
Dennis said this approach is vital if Australian business owners want to stay in the retail game, and he urged local stores to cash in on their unique advantages.
“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,” he said.
“At a time when choice and accessibility is no longer a barrier for consumers, we are seeing a change in the way Australians like to shop online. The rise in consumers seeking the unique and the colourful has created a whitespace which can be best serviced by the Australian online small business community.”
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