Organic growth online
AUSTRALIANS are the world leaders in online shopping, but it's not just domestically-unavailable designer handbags and cheap electronics that are filling our online shopping baskets.
Alasdair Smithson came to Australia from England several years ago with a plan to replicate an online-based organic fruit and vegetable store he worked on in his home country.
And what better place to do it than on a farm in the fertile pastures of Newrybar?
Munch Crunch Organics, which began two years ago, is a web-based business that allows customers to place their organic grocery orders online and have them delivered to their home or office on specific days.
Most of the produce is grown on the Munch Crunch Organics Farm and other produce, including dairy and meat products, are sourced from local farms.
The Australian component of the 2011 World Internet Project found a quarter of Australians were buying online at least once a week and that internet shopping among people in their 50s had grown strongly over the past two years.
The typical value of internet purchases by Australians grew from $170 per month in 2007 to $206 this year.
Mr Smithson said his customers ranged from young families to professionals with "disposable incomes".
"The local sales have been quite steady, but we are finding an increase more so in the more populated, urban areas (Gold Coast)," he said.
"People in our local area are already spoiled for choice with the farmers' markets and things so our orders have grown in the urban areas more.
"Our customers are more people with disposable incomes and people with young children who want to provide them with the best, freshest food possible.
"It's very convenient for people who can do their organic shopping online with a glass of wine, or at the office or when they don't want to take all the kids to the supermarket."
- A quarter of Australians are buying online once a week.
- 53% buy something online at least once a month.
- The average amount spent per month online is $206.
- Almost 60% pay their bills online.
Source: ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation