Retailers, Are You Ready For The New Normal?

The recent pandemic has brought with it enormous change, altering the trajectory of the Australian retail industry.

In March 2020, online sales accounted for 12% of total retail sales in Australia* as eCommerce became not just the preferred way, but in many cases, the only way to shop. This shift in consumer behaviour has meant many bricks and mortar businesses, from retail to restaurants, have needed to adapt quickly.

April online sales were up 31% to 5.2 million people compared with the 2019 average, with more than 200,000 new shoppers entering the eCommerce market and purchasing something online for the first time. What’s more, over a third of new shoppers made multiple purchases.

Shoppers who wouldn’t usually buy online, for example, older demographics, have quickly become more comfortable with the channel and we predict this trend is here to stay.

Omni-channel retailing will be the new normal!

In 2019, an average of 1.6 million households bought something online each week. By April 2020, this had increased to 2.5 million households, to put this in perspective there are currently 8.42 million households in Australia, so almost 30% are now purchasing online weekly.

By the end of 2020, experts predict online spend will hold a 15% share of the total retail market, years ahead of previous projections.

Another interesting trend is that campaigns like #BuyFromTheBush and #BuyRegional – which encouraged people to buy from regional businesses affected by drought and then fire- generated millions of dollars in eCommerce sales. Australians are becoming increasingly conscious of the social impacts of their purchases and seeking to support their local and regional communities where possible.
A category very close to our hearts, Specialty Food & Liquor, has always been slightly behind the general eCommerce trends. However, this category has also continued to grow as consumer confidence has increased, and delivery options have improved. The category grew 9.4% in 2019, and just under two-thirds of purchases were wine and liquor.

14.5% of Australian households purchased at least one specialty food and liquor item online in 2019, and this will have seen significant growth again in 2020 with the recent lockdowns.

Increased consumer demand for online shopping brings increased competition, and it’s not as simple as building a website, and expecting people will come.

When considering your eCommerce platform, it’s also important to consider your digital marketing strategies and tactics, from SEO and search engine marketing to social media content and advertising, and email marketing, to ensure your customers can find you.

One thing is certain, recent events have fundamentally changed the way consumers shop now and in the future. If your business operates in the retail space and you are not offering an eCommerce option for your customers yet, now is the time to start.

*2020 Australia Post eCommerce Industry report, June 2020

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