We recently caught up with the with newly appointed Head of LivingSocial Australia and New Zealand, Paul Langston, to discuss e-commerce trends in the region, goals for 2014, and Aussies’ interesting penchant for fortune telling.
What is unique about the e-commerce industry in Australia?
Like the US and the UK, Australians have rapidly embraced e-commerce and reports indicate that this is only going to grow. Aussies tend to be a bit more locally-focused however, even when it comes to online purchases. A recent study showed that 75% of Australians shop locally online, spending on average $285 every four weeks on travel, entertainment, electronics, fashion, food, and beverage… which is great news for LivingSocial.
What does the future of e-commerce/ deal industry look like in Australia?
Recent analyst reports found that the Group Buying industry in Australia has remained steady in 2013, with our population of 22 million spending more than $115 million on group buying deals between January and March in 2013. With our increased focus on higher quality deals in 2014, we are confident the future of LivingSocial in Australia is bright.
What are some of your goals for LivingSocial in 2014?
This will be an exciting year for the company and I’m thrilled to be taking the reins at LivingSocial at such a pivotal time. We’ve experienced our most profitable months in LivingSocial Australia’s history recently and aim to continue the great success we have had in 2013 and build on it with a broader offering for our consumers.
Which deals sell best?
Relaxation was the top of many wish lists for 2013 with plenty of Aussies buying massages and luxury Escapes. Personalized photography gifts swooped in towards the end of the year as a big seller over the Christmas period as well — they made a great gift for loved ones.
Restaurant deals are always popular here, and of course with our weather, fun outdoor activities such as paddle boarding, are featured frequently.
What has surprised you most about consumer preferences in the Australian market?
The most surprising thing we’ve seen is that some concepts like psychics, tarot readings, and astrology charts do really well here. It seems us Australians are keen to learn what our futures hold!