As we enter a new financial year, Nielsen online insights from June and July have shown a rush in last minute online retail action. There were also surges in audiences to financial and government online resources as businesses and consumers prepped for tax time.
The lead up to the end of financial year is when we see retailers go all out with powerful advertising campaigns that promise extreme discounts to make room for the new financial year’s merchandise.
And when it comes to scoring a great tax time bargain, a little prep work in the form of online research can go a long way. Nielsen Online Ratings June data has revealed that a large number of consumers are going online to make the most of tax time sales, with a spike in the audiences to online retailer and mass merchandiser websites.
More than 18 million Australians visited online retail stores in June 2015 – up by 732,000 compared to a year ago and up by an additional 176,000 on the previous month.
BIG W (+35% versus May 2015) posted the highest lift in incremental unique audience with 447,000 more people in June, followed by Harvey Norman (+391,000) and Woolworths HomeShop (+335,000). Dick Smith Electronics (+257,000) also managed to grow its audience by 23% versus the previous month.
Recent federal budget changes allowing tax breaks for small businesses of up to $20,000 for the current financial year may also be behind the substantial increase in people going to these sites, as consumers research and purchase computers, phones and other electronic devices for work purposes. The latest Nielsen Consumer & Media View survey (Jun14-May15), supports this trend, revealing that small business owners are 50% more likely to have purchased computer software and hardware online in the past month.
Adding to the end of financial year buzz, Nielsen’s advertising expenditure data shows a 2.5% jump in the retail sector’s spend on metro TV for the 8-week period ending 4 July 2015, compared to the same period last year. Retail ad spend in out-of-home advertising also saw double digit growth, and spend in cinema advertising for retail more than doubled in value versus a year ago, albeit off a much smaller base.
As the financial year came to a close, Australians worked to get their affairs in order to report earnings to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), driving up Government services website visits significantly.
As expected, tax related websites and online services increased massively, with some reporting significant increases year on year. Audiences to the ATO’s website more than doubled (116%) from June, and increased by 10% year on year, with an audience of 3,306,000. Time spent on the website doubled from half an hour to a full hour.
The e-Tax web app has received great traction, with more than a million people using it in July, while MyGov audiences increased by 47 percent year on year and 131 per cent from June, with an audience of 3,421,000 in July.
Interestingly, many financial institution websites also experienced increases in their audiences in July compared to June, likely due to consumers using these sites to get hold of their interest information required for completing their tax returns.
Many banks also experienced large year on year increases as more people go online for banking in response to heavy investments into websites and personal banking apps. Banks seeing increases to their audiences included Rabobank (63%), The Bank of Melbourne (48%), HSBC (24%) and Victoria Teachers Credit Union (63%).
We know these results will only grow over the next 12 months as brands increase their digital ad investment to suit an increasingly savvy public. The “EOFY” season is here to stay, and we predict to see increasingly creative ways to drive audiences to retailer websites. Likewise, taxes are a certainty, and the development of more sophisticated digital technology to manage personal tax is foreseeable.