Australians shopping online more than ever before

The COVID-19 pandemic has set a new baseline for e-commerce in Australia, with online predicted to hold a 15% share of the retail market by the end of 2020.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has set a new baseline for e-commerce in Australia, with online predicted to hold a 15% share of the total retail market by the end of 2020.

Australia Post today released the 2020 Inside Australian Online Shopping Report, providing insight into the impact the pandemic has had on the industry so far, as well as a look back at the key trends that emerged in 2019.

Australia Post General Manager Parcel and Express Services, Ben Franzi said the recent rate of acceleration the e-commerce industry had experienced was unprecedented.

“The industry is in overdrive and this shift happened almost overnight with growth for the eight weeks following the WHO’s announcement of the pandemic up 80% Y-o-Y. In April alone we saw over 200,000 new online shoppers enter the market, and a million more people overall shopping online every week when compared to the average in 2019. This influx drove the number of purchases in the 30 days to April 30 up 6.8% when compared to the 30 days to 18 December 2019, a traditional peak period which includes Black Friday and the pre-Christmas rush.”

Franzi added, “Further, the big surprise in April this year was the Easter long weekend which overtook the 2019 Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping event as the busiest period in Australian online shopping history. Though we’ve seen early signs of normalisation through May, all areas of the industry are still up significantly when compared to 2019, suggesting that this new normal may be here to stay”.

But it would appear that the pandemic has not only changed Australians’ online purchase frequency; it has also impacted when they are buying and how they are receiving their goods.

“In the past we would see a concentration of purchasing between 7-10pm, but in recent months this has become more evenly spread throughout the day, as more people work from home and spend less time commuting,” said Franzi. “Alternate delivery options are also growing steadily, up 30% Y-o-Y and we expect this growth to continue. Social distancing will remain a priority in the months to come so contactless will be key and services like 24/7 parcel lockers give shoppers choice and flexibility” he continued.

Looking back at 2019, Australians spent a huge $32bn online and the number of online purchases increased by 17.5% Y-o-Y. Victoria was the only State or Territory to achieve growth above this at 19.9%.

Fashion and apparel remained the most popular items purchased throughout 2019, but as people began to spend more time at home during 2020, purchases of specialty food and liquor, entertainment and items for the home office began to soar.

Point Cook in Melbourne’s west retained its position as the number one spot for online shopping for the fifth time and seven of the nation’s top 10 suburbs recorded growth above the national average.

Source: Australia Post