According to research by Deloitte Access Economics, undertaken in conjunction with Australia Post, Australian businesses that have invested in e-commerce have been buffered from the impacts of Covid-19 compared with those that didn’t.
The report, Australia’s eCommerce revolution: how it saved businesses in Covid-19 and future strategies to thrive, showed that while revenue fell by up to 67 % for some industries at the height of the pandemic, the shift to additional online activity saw non-store revenue for the average small business increase by between A$105,000 (US$74,389) and A$708,000 (US$501,600).
According to the report, the positive impact of e-commerce from March 2020 to August 2020 also included:
- Helping 73% of businesses to retain employees;
- Allowing 61% of businesses to keep operating through the crisis;
- Assisting surveyed businesses to limit overall revenue losses to 7%, despite in-store revenues falling by 21%;
- Increasing non-store revenue by 17% for small businesses with up to four employees and by 23% for businesses with up to 19 employees.
Deloitte Access Economics partner John O’Mahony noted that while 51% of businesses expect economic recovery from Covid-19 to be at least 12 months away, there are three areas of focus for businesses in the months ahead: “Covid-19 has changed the way Australians shop with an estimated 45% of purchases set to be completed online in the future. Business looking to set themselves up for long-term success should look to increase digitization, improve their supply chain resilience, and redesign their business strategy.”
The findings come ahead of the upcoming Christmas peak season and what is expected to be the largest e-commerce event in Australian history, generating A$4bn (US$2.8bn) in spending.
Australia Post group chief executive and managing director Christine Holgate commented, “We have seen e-commerce accelerate through this pandemic, with Australia Post providing a valuable lifeline to many businesses, as our people work tirelessly to help deliver the additional A$4.2bn [US$2.8bn] in online spending activity. Australians are embracing home delivery in record numbers and this analysis shows that over the next 12 months home delivery is expected to remain 25% higher than pre-Covid levels. That is a significant challenge for us as the engine room of Australian e-commerce, but one we are preparing for.”
Full analysis of the report is available at auspost.com.au/publications.