d Facebook Pixel Code -->
According to the Australia Post’s Inside Australian Online Shopping report, e-commerce in Australia grew by more than 80 % year on year (YOY) under two months after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a statistic that is hard to believe but understandable considering that during the various lockdowns online shopping was not only a preferred way to shop but, in many instances, the only way.
However, while e-commerce spiked tremendously due to COVID-19, the growth was already strong before the pandemic sparked off rolling lockdowns. For instance, Auspost declared that the online sales of Black Friday/Cyber Monday (November 2019 ) shot up by more than 31% compared to 2018. As more people got accustomed to these traditionally North American shopping events, more Australian retailers began to take advantage of it.
Traditionally, April is a quiet month for shopping as people recover from the Christmas shopping frenzy. But April 2020 broke this tradition by recording an influx of e-commerce purchasing. Australian researchers reported that online purchases were 7% higher than the 30-day period 1 that followed the 2019 Black Friday, even though that period also encompassed the usual Christmas rush.
The number of household shopping online in April 2020 alone recorded a massive jump to 5.2 million, a 31% increase compared to the average of 2019.
Not all sectors however grew at even rates. The time spent between zoom meetings and overeating during this crisis saw many Australians spending their money on hot favourites, such as wine and liquor. The online purchase of these drinks reached growth highs of 160 % YOY during March and April.
Initially, however, panic buying set shoppers rushing for essential items, leading to rationing in stores. Consequently, more clients migrated to online shops to purchase groceries, alcohol, toilet paper, pharmaceuticals, and hygiene products.
As the government continued to clarify its restrictions, more people began to understand what they could and couldn’t obtain quickly, leading to a more measured approach towards purchasing essentials. I was speaking with one Amazon Account executive who told me the incredible story about face masks sellers moving 44,000 units per day at one stage before even Amazon was wiped out.
Lifestyle and Killing Boredom
Overtime purchases shifted to self-improvement, entertainment, DIY, casual and comfortable clothing.
Initially, the demand for fashions was low but soon took an upward curve, recovering to single-digit growth rates. New words entered our lexicon like “lockdown” “iso” and even “COVID-Spread” referring to weight gain from lack of sport and excersize combined with boredom and eating. More buyers felt the need to shed some weight due to staying indoors for long and indulging in extra home-cooked meals. Consequently, increased purchase of active and leisurewear saw the sector striking highs of 100% YOY.
Online purchase of stationery, books, and other media products softened initially since schools and universities were not spared in the lockdowns. However, according to Australian online bookstore Booktopia's deputy CEO Wayne Baskin, book sales improved as people switched from days of watching Tiger King and other films.
Easter saw a return to some buyers chasing “wants” rather than “needs” with department store purchases skyrocketing to 400% YOY over the Easter week, as people got a chance to hit the shops and reward themselves with a bit of retail therapy.
Keep calm and shop online
A new baseline has been set in online shopping. This dramatic and swift industry-wide shift will no doubt dictate future purchasing behavior. By March 2020 online shopping had already reached 12.7% of total retail. And for those who think that Australia’s adoption of online marketplaces is lagging, think again. Worldwide ecommerce accounts for 14.1% of retail where in Australia it’s predicted to hit 15% by years end. While the current acceleration may start to steady, there is a widespread consensus that many of these changes are here to stay even after vaccines allow things return to normal.
If your brand is not “online” ready, then the time to act is now as the online retail revolution has gone from sleeping giant to raging Godzilla in a matter of months.
Tim is a Senior partner at machete.systems
Amazon Sponsored Ads Certification ID: 522687
Amazon, the Amazon logo, Fulfilment by Amazon, FBA, Seller Central and any other Amazon owned company names, products, and/or logos are property and the trademarks of Amazon.com or its affiliates.
Copyright © 2021 Machete Systems Pty Ltd ABN 15 633 599 318