The COVID-19 pandemic proved a boon for online retailers, with lockdown restrictions supercharging eCommerce by more than 57 per cent year-on-year.
Australia Post was a major recipient of the flow-on affects of that shopping change, forcing the national postal service to re-tool and re-train its workforce to meet demand.
A huge consumer shift was the introduction of first-time online shoppers, who for lifestyle or medical reasons were unable to attend physical stores in person.
Ben Franzi, Australia Posts’ General Manager of Parcel and Express Services, said almost every household in the country bought something online.
“Australians spent an incredible $50.5 billion online last year, and eCommerce accounted for 16.3 per cent of total retail spend,” Mr Franzi said.
“Almost nine million households across the country bought something online as people shopped for the things they needed, avoiding large shopping centres and other busy retail settings.
“More than 1.3 million of these households were first-time shoppers with 93 per cent of their initial purchases made between March and December.”
Australia Post’s 2021 Inside Australian Online Shopping report has ranked Australian suburbs by their total volume of online shopping in 2020, with the top ten overwhelmingly dominated by Victorian suburbs.
Due to prolonged lockdowns, Victoria’s online purchase growth over the past 12 months soared by 82 per cent.
Mr Franzi said the shift to online shopping quickly became natural, even to those who had never entered their card details before.
“We found that of the 240,000 households who made an online purchase for the first time in April, half were regular shoppers by the end of the year after shopping online in at least three of the months between May and December,” said Mr Franzi.
“When it comes to seasoned shoppers, the average household increased its online shopping frequency by at least 10 purchases over the year and the range of categories and retailers they purchased from also expanded significantly.
“Shoppers are more engaged and comfortable buying online than ever before and this trend has continued into 2021. We’re seeing around five million households continue to buy on a monthly basis which is 1.1 million more than the average in 2019.”