When consumers go shopping, businesses go shopping too.

Statistics from Alibaba.com, the China-based and world’s largest online business-to-business trading platform for international small-to-medium-sized businesses revealed that the number of Australian businesses importing goods through the platform had increased by over 70% in the past year.

Daphne Lee, Alibaba.com’s director of international business development and marketing for Asia Pacific believes that this is a strong reflection of the recovering local economy.

“There is a growing confidence among Australia consumers and the strong Australian dollar is certainly having a positive impact for imports,” says Lee.

With enquiries sent by Australian buyers to overseas suppliers increasing by 71.8% between April 2010 and 2011, and enquiries sent between Australian buyers to Australians suppliers growing up 67%, both set of results point to the local economy recovering, thus leading to an growth in both international imports and domestic trade.

There are currently more than 550,000 Australians using the ecommerce platform as a business source.

Lee also adds: “In Q1 2011, the number of buyer enquiries sent by our Australian members to overseas suppliers was a whopping 79.5% higher than the number of buyer enquiries they received from overseas buyers, suggesting that their volume of imports was higher than their volume of exports”.

These statistics are also in line with data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which found that retail sales in Australia have hit its highest since November 2009.