Overseas web retailers are reaping sales from Australian consumers with little challenge from local businesses.

A US-based internet retailer survey has revealed that Australia ranks in top three markets for generating web sales outside of the US. Some of the 36.8% of web retailers who responded to the survey admitted to winning business without offering the necessary features and functions designed to cater for international shoppers.

Bing Lee head of ecommerce Peter Krideras says tech-savvy consumers are reluctantly buying from international businesses because they are starved of brand choice.

“The delay in Australian retailers embracing selling online has made it easy for overseas ventures to tap into the Australian market,” said Krideras.

“The quicker local organisations embrace the power of the web, the quicker we can capture this growing market before we lose more money overseas.”

Forrester Research has revealed that online spending is expected to grow to $32 billion in Australia by 2012.

Figures from IBISWorld show that online sales may reach $75 billion as more retailers increase the efficiency and reliability of their online channels. The figures also found that Australian online sales currently represent just 5.5% of the country’s total retail sales

However, research by the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) found that in 2005, 86% of local online spend was domestic. By 2008, this had already plummeted to 57%, with close to half of total online sales being directed to overseas competitors.

Online Retailer Expo and Conference managing director, Mark Harvey, says more retailers need to ask themselves why Australian consumers are behaving this way.

“A whole new generation of consumers have taken control and are changing the game for the retail industry. With access to a wealth of information online, customers are speaking to us loud and clear by putting their credit cards on the line and transacting,” explained Harvey.