Australians love technology and enjoy using it to make safe, secure and convenient online transactions. Developments in technology, new entrants and innovation in payments have altered the retail payments landscape. This is a good thing for businesses and consumers, however as much as we embrace innovation, the non-negotiable element which will drive adoption – and therefore economic growth – is customer trust and safety. With 97% of Australian businesses employing less than 20 staff and having to manage competing business priorities with limited resources, it’s convenient to push online security to one side. Australian businesses require specific advice and a holistic approach to better defend themselves from cyber security threats.
Online payments have increased during COVID-19 and will continue to drive prosperity in our economy. Ensuring appropriate robust security is built into the payments ecosystem will be the key to success.
The Internet and the Australian Economy
Our lives have fundamentally changed. Over time, we have moved from video rentals to Netflix and from taxis to Uber. This innovation has been underpinned by secure online transactions.
Internet-based technology has fundamentally changed the make-up of the Australian economy. It has opened up global opportunities and reduced barriers to going to market. It has also opened up innovation in payments.
Over the past 20 years internet usage and penetration has rapidly increased – globally in 2000 there were 304m users, representing just 5% of the population. In early 2020 there were 4,574m users, representing nearly 60% of the global population.
In Australia in 2000, there were 6.6m internet users representing nearly 34% of the population. This increased to almost 22.3m users in 2020 – around 88% of the population. 86% of Australian households are connected to the internet – and 80% of Australians are online daily – principally via desktop/laptops, mobile smart devices and TV, music/video players. Since the beginning of COVID-19, household peak download throughput has increased by 25 percent. More than 95% of Australian businesses have internet connectivity, with over half having a web site, social media presence and making and accepting payments online.
Online retail sales are now equivalent to approximately 9% of traditional retail sales as Australia catches up to other more mature online markets such as the USA, China and United Kingdom where online retails sales market penetration is greater than 15% of total retail sales.