Recently, I published a report about Australian online retail in 2012. The report contains data, examples and detail as you've come to expect for Forrester, but the top line is that in 2012:

  • Mobile commerce will strengthen its place as an important part of Australia's online retail mix
  • Marginal daily deal sites will fold, merge, or sell
  • Local lean startups will bring mass customization to more customers, placing pressure on the retail giants that lag in this area
  • A plucky few companies will find a way to combine the speed of online startups with the scale of the retail giants
  • Couriers, software developers and other partners to online retail will step up their efforts to provide the services that eBusiness professionals actually require

For example, customers in many European markets have enjoyed access to eCommmerce parcel collection point services for many years. But now Australia Post is stepping into this space with customer lockers at selected stores, Coles Online is placing Click & Collect locked refrigerators in selected supermarkets and petrol stations, and local startup Parcel Point is working with Internet cafes and other small businesses to provide collection points that are close to Australia's inner city apartment blocks.

As someone who is paid to observe, engage with and support eBusiness professionals at home and abroad, I can tell you it's never been a more exciting time to be associated with Australia's online retail sector, but the year ahead will crank it up by a few notches more, and personally I can't wait to see that happen.

To all of Australia's online retailers and shoppers, and to everyone who has used or contributed to our research in 2011, have a safe and happy holiday and I look forward to seeing what you achieve in 2012. Salute.