Aussie Consumer Behaviours During COVID-19

[Key Insights from Australia Post: Online Shopping eCommerce Industry Report 2020]

A new ‘not-so normal’ or a looming consumer trend that was just biding its time? Thanks to COVID-19, shoppers in Australia who once revelled in ‘popping down to the shops’ have found themselves becoming more and more accustomed to promo codes, online checkouts and delivery windows. 

According to the latest Australia Post reports, 5.2 million Aussie households shopped online this year – a whopping 31% increase from the previous year – while 200,000 Australians made their very first foray into the world of online shopping. It’s also helpful to note that Australians have a heightened love for sales events and speedy deliveries, with many purchases made centred around key dates and 20% next day deliveries.

More interesting takeaways from the report (April 30, 2020):

  1. Traditionally a quiet month for retail, April 2020 instead saw a 6.8% increase in online sales compared to the previous largest recorded period.
  2. 91% of all deliveries in April 2020 were sent to homes.
  3. Variety Stores were the biggest winners in 2019. Over 57% of Australian households purchased from this channel, accounting for 35.5% of total eCommerce purchases for the year.
  4. Purchases made on mobile have declined due to less commuting and less people being on the go. Laptop purchases have risen to 36% compared to 33% in the previous year.
  5. For March 2020, total retail spend (excluding cafes, restaurants and takeaway) was up 15.5% YOY, a growth largely driven by bulk purchases in food retail.
  6. Fashion shoppers are highly engaged when browsing online, spending an average of just over 7 minutes on websites, a minute or so more than beauty and cosmetics – and well ahead of the 4 minutes and 46 seconds that shoppers spend browsing for homewares and appliances.
  7. In the 8 weeks since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, eCommerce sales growth soared up by a whopping 80% year on year. 
  8. Regional areas in Australia accounted for the highest growth in specialty food sales, while city slickers ranked higher for liquor
  9. Fashion and apparel remains the most popular items bought online, followed by Home and Garden as the second most sought after category.
  10. Point Cook in Victoria retains its place as the suburb with highest volume in online bought goods for the fifth consecutive year.

So what does this mean for online business owners everywhere?

Clearly, online shopping is here to stay. The expectation of a smooth, undisrupted online shopping experience is a given, and any site that takes forever to load can be the dealbreaker that causes customers to look elsewhere. At this point, ensuring a smooth shopping experience alone could just well be the tip of the iceberg. If you’re looking at making the most of this, the key would be to center your marketing around your customer’s intensified digital behaviours to boost brand relevance, see where your product fits and find new audiences that need your products and services. 

At the end of the day, increased shoppers flocking online means more opportunity for your online business to thrive. However, that doesn’t guarantee you the piece of the pie unless you know exactly what you need to measure to help reach your goals, what to do with your customer insights, and what tangible actions will further that growth.

Own an online store? Some things to consider:

  • Are you ticking all the boxes to grow your online business or is your store as good as it gets? 
  • Are you making the most of this ecommerce uptake? What opportunities can you explore?
  • Is your store up to scratch and what are you doing to set yourself apart?
  • What are your current marketing goals actually achieving?
  • Are you striking the right balance between acquiring new interests and retaining existing customers?

See Australian Online Shopping eCommerce Industry Report 2020 here .