More than four in five Australian households shopped online during 2021, spending A$62.3bn (US$47.5bn) on physical goods, according to Australia Post’s 2022 Inside Australian Online Shopping Report.
This spending drove the online share of total retail last year to 19.3%, up 12.3% on 2020 and almost twice pre-pandemic levels. According to the report, shoppers’ increased confidence in buying online saw an increase in willingness to shop around, sharing their dollars across a broader cross-section of retailers and expanding their online purchases into new categories.
The research found that in 2019, the average shopper bought from nine individual retailers but that figure had increased to 15 in 2021 and the number of categories increased from six to eight. The time of day people choose to shop has also shifted, with more purchases made between 2pm and 5pm, and fewer between 7pm and 10pm.
Across the country in 2021, metro areas saw a recorded growth of 12.9% year-on-year, while regional locations saw growth of 10.6%. Among the top online buys across the year were athleisure, baby products, footwear and pet products. To stay ahead of future growth, in October 2021 Australia Post allocated an additional A$400m (US$305m) to be invested in new facilities, fleet and technology by mid-2022.
Paul Graham, CEO and managing director at Australia Post Group, said, “Right across the 2021 calendar year Australians turned to online shopping like never before, and with fluctuating restrictions and 15 million people in lockdown at one stage, e-commerce was a lifeline for people and businesses alike. Even as restrictions eased, Australia’s love of online shopping has not faltered, evidenced by the 5,400,000 households we saw buying online each month last year, representing a 39% increase from 2019.
“Today’s online shoppers are looking for choice and convenience, reliability in supply and delivery, and with 75% thinking about sustainability when they shop online, it’s having an enormous impact on which brands they choose to buy from and where they spend their money.”