Australia Post reveals households are shopping online more than ever before

E-commerce growth was up over 80 per cent in the first eight weeks of the pandemic, with 5.2 million Australian households shopping online in April this year. Australia Post predicts buyer behaviour following COVID-19 is likely to stay through the rest of 2020 and beyond.

In new research from Australia Post’s 2020 Inside Australian Online Shopping Report that was released on Friday 19 June, the global COVID-19 pandemic has set a new baseline for e-commerce in Australia, with online predicted to hold a 15 per cent share of the total retail market by the end of 2020.
In the eight weeks following the WHO’s announcement of the pandemic, e-commerce growth was up 80 per cent year on year (YOY), making it clear that the industry has not only kicked up a gear, it has gone into overdrive.
Ben Franzi, Australia Post General Manager Parcel and Express Services.
Ben Franzi, Australia Post General Manager Parcel and Express Services said the recent rate of acceleration the eCommerce industry had experienced was unprecedented.

“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,” he said.

“This influx drove the number of purchases in the 30 days to April 30 up 6.8 per cent when compared to the 30 days to 18 December 2019, a traditional peak period which includes Black Friday and the pre-Christmas rush.”

Ben said 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,” Ben said.

Busiest period in Australian online shopping history

Sales peaked at 135 per cent YOY over Easter, making the holiday weekend Australia Post’s biggest period in online shopping history.

Source: 2020 Inside Australian Online Shopping Report

Ben stated in the that Australia Post predicted that by 2025 online shopping would account for 16–18 per cent of total retail spend, but the recent growth its seen suggests the pandemic has brought this forward.

Seasoned shoppers also increased their online shopping frequency in April, with 52.6 per cent purchasing online three or more times over the month.

Looking back at 2019, Australians spent a huge $32 billion online, and the number of online purchases increased by 17.5 per cent YOY. Victoria was the only State or Territory to achieve growth above this at 19.9 per cent.

According to Australia Post, 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.

How Australians are getting their goods delivered 

The report states that as a result of self-isolation measures, the majority of Australians are receiving their online purchases at home.

In April 2020, 91 per cent of all deliveries went to homes. This was a 9 per cent increase in share compared to the whole of 2019. 10 per cent of deliveries in 2019 were delivered to workplaces. In April 2020, that proportion was only 4 per cent.

It would appear that the pandemic hasn’t only changed Australians’ online purchase frequency; it has also impacted when they’re buying and how they’re 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,” Ben said.

“Alternate delivery options are also growing steadily, up 30 per cent YOY 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.”

Findings in the report suggest Click and Collect also continues to grow, as it alleviates the cost versus expediency dilemma for sellers and buyers.

Source: 2020 Inside Australian Online Shopping Report

“The number of Click and Collect shoppers grew by 7 per cent between July 2019 and March 2020 when compared to the 2019 financial year,” the report states.

“While we will see workers gradually make a return to the office, social distancing measures may mean that flexible working remains prevalent, making choice, convenience and flexibility in delivery even more important.”

Australia’s online shoppers hotspots

In Australia’s States and Territories eCommerce growth in April 2020 left the growth figures from 2019 well and truly in its wake.

According to the report, Victoria grew 111 per cent YOY in April, compared to 19.9 per cent in 2019 and the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales grew by an astonishing 102 per cent and 98 per cent YOY respectively.

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: 2020 Inside Australian Online Shopping Report

Similar trends can be seen when looking at different locations around the country. Very remote Australia registered more than 56 per cent growth YOY in April 2020, compared to 10.8 per cent in 2019.

The top 10 locations for Fashion & Apparel all recorded above average growth of 21 per cent YOY, with the exception of two postcodes, Point Cook and Toowoomba.

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