91% Of Australians Unwilling To Pay Online

91% Of Australians Unwilling To Pay Online

A recent survey has revealed that Australians are among the least likely to take out their wallets to pay for online services, with 91 per cent of respondents happy to keep their cash unspent. 73 per cent is the worldwide average, so we definitely occupy the higher end of the stingy bracket.

Smartphone apps also felt the wrath of our frugality — only 40 per cent were keen to pay, down from 75 per cent in 2010.

The statistics, collected from 9600 participants aged between 16 and 65, are from a worldwide survey conducted last year by auditing firm KPMG. The Australian, reporting on the results, also picked up on the fact that a mere 36 per cent of us engaged in mobile banking over the last year and a half, with the paper citing “a preference for other channels and security/privacy concerns” as the reasons for this behaviour.

With many online services, such as Google Docs, providing high-quality tools at no cost, it’s understandable that we’ve become accustomed to this being the norm. Now that sites are, more and more, looking to monetise their offerings, trying to have all your needs met by free brigade is not always practical.

There’s also been a massive shift to “freemium”, a trend that’s prevalent in the App Store, with free-to-download apps offering their content as separate, low-cost modules so you only pay for what you want.

Are there any online services you pay for, either because they’ve become integral to your workflow or no free offerings exist that match the quality? I know if you’re not one for setting up your own collaboration site or issue tracker, sites such as Basecamp are indispensable.

Aussies reluctant to pay for web content [The Australian]

Image: sasicd


  • I pay for Flickr, but once this subscription is up, I’m moving across to SkyDrive (a name I perpetually have to look up to “remember”).
    I just use Flickr as a backup service really, so why pay when I can get similar for free from a “reliable” company like Microsoft?
    I’ve bought a number of Smartphone Apps, but it took me a while to buy anything.

  • I paid for Evernote Premium while I still had a dumb phone, but now I have an Android, I didn’t renew. I used to use my iPod touch for offline notes. I also had the RTM premium for a while, also for mobile access, but there are so many excellent free options, it didn’t seem worth it.

    That’s the thing – why should we pay for services when there are free options available that are often better than their premium counterparts. In my opinion, this is why the Freemium model works, because everyone will automatically go for the free version, but if the service is good enough, or their need for premium features is sufficient, people will upgrade.

  • If they’re going to want us to pay then they need to step up their services, cut down the price and make it more user friendly because why would we when we could get the same thing for free?
    It’s not Australia’s fault, it’s the company’s own fault

  • I pay for Evernote & RTM though I don’t really need the premium features of either. But both services are terrific and make my digital life better and neither is very expensive – good value for money in my opinion. I also pay for my cloud backup service because it makes no sense to me at all that anyone would trust their digital stuff to someone they’ve never paid a cent to. I also generally upgrade to the paid version of a game or an app if I like the free version and it does what I need it to do (and if it doesn’t I generally delete the app).

    I guess I am lucky that I can afford to pay for what I want (though I would argue that most people who can afford a smart phone can also afford to pay for some apps now and again) but I also think it is my responsibility to do so – and in the end there is no such thing as a free lunch (or app). You generally end up paying somehow – through being bombarded with ads or the service going away unexpectedly or the site being hacked because the security isn’t as robust as it could be (though I do realise this can happen to paid services as well). I figure if I pay for the services I use I have less chance of any of those things happening to me. and I have some legal rights if something does go wrong.

  • There’s some sort of irony in the The Australian (source link), asking us to sign in and pay $2.95 per week, to read an article about Australians not paying for online content.

    • +1 – I smiled when I went through. Fortunatley, using google, you type in the article name, and select the link there, and it shows up in full 🙂

      Hmm, wonder why I didn’t pay.

  • Probably has something to do with the fact that some people only use computers and phones to there bear minimums, like older people. They would have no idea what cloud services are and lack the ability to comprehend them.

    I myself use free Google apps but I pay $20 a year for more storage with them, and I also pay for freshbooks, quoteroller and my hosting/domain account.

  • For work, I tend to pay for things – you get much better service when you’re a paying customer, and time is money. For home, I’m far more likely to cobble together a substitute from free parts or accept a service that has lower reliability. The difference is that if it fails for whatever reason, I’m the only one who suffers.

    That said, what I use for one filters over to the other – I use google apps at home and the sheer convenience made me start recommending it to customers. It makes setting up a small company and troubleshooting their problems far quicker.

    I guess I’m the target market for ‘freemium’ services – even if I dont pay for them myself, they still get a sales boost if they’re good.

  • Let’s see..


    * Evernote ($5pm)
    * Google Apps Premium $50 / year
    * JungleDisk secure online backup $3pm
    * MacUpdate Desktop $20 / year (might be $30 ?)
    * Web / Domain hosting $5pm
    * Domain registration…. approx. $100 / year
    * Audible Books Platinum subscription $23pm
    * SmugMug photo hosting $50 / year
    * LastPass Premium $12 / year
    * Internode Naked ADSL $89pm (a bit meta I know.. but it’s still an online service I pay for)
    * Am currently trialling/auditioning a subscription music streaming service so that will be another $15pm for someone when I choose.
    * Would HAPPILY pay for Netflix Streaming if it were available in Aust.
    * iTunes Store – I spend average of $5-10pm on Apps for my iPhone and/or iPad.
    * MacApp Store – last year was just over $200, so say $200 / year on software.
    * Other software – again was around $200 for the year just gone.

    I’d like to think I’m part of the 9% 🙂

  • I don’t always go with the premium items because there are occasionally free alternatives (GIMP vs Photoshop, Ubuntu vs WHS, I don’t own a smart phone/tablet so Apps need not apply) that are able to do the same tasks the premium products do anyway. YMMV.

  • I am very doubtful of this figure. Since it is said that most smart phone users have bought at least one app, this is of course done online and I am sure I have seen it somewhere that more than 7% of Australians have a smart phone.

    I think what they are trying to say with their exaggerated figure is that there is a lot of free content which really means only heavy users of an online service need to pay. For the rest, the free package is enough. Eg. I have never needed more than the 2gb free dropbox account. But I pay about $100 a month in other online services

  • Just renewed my Flickr account.. I also happily pay for useful apps like PlecoDict and other dictionaries and apps for English to Chinese translation. Generally though, I have to agree that I would more likely not be willing to pay for an app if there is a free, ad-supported version of it and in some cases not pay for an app that is more than a few dollars. It does sound like much and people always make the arguement that it’s “only the price of a cup of coffee”.. but that’s a cup o coffee I won’t get to drink.. something that I already do without the app… the app is a new addition to my lifestyle that I have been living quite happily without for a lot longer than the app has been around let alone the amount of time I’ve had an interest in that app and likely longer than I will still be interested in the app should I buy it.

Log in to comment on this story!