Christmas Shopping Trends: COVID-19 Drives Seasonal Shopping Online

Published on 10/11/2020 by Anna Hammond

COVID-19 is forcing a major and imminent transformation in the retail sector. While Australia took an aggressive approach towards fighting the virus early on, ongoing clusters in Melbourne and Sydney have kept much of the country closed down from each other.

For those states that are open, ongoing social distancing restrictions will be in effect for the foreseeable future. This strategy has led to many Aussie shoppers turning to eCommerce merchants. In this article, GetApp highlights new Christmas shopping trends bought about by these changes.

Christmas shopping trends

GetApp surveyed 1,000 consumers from Australia to identify changes in their shopping behaviour. The full survey methodology is available at the bottom of this article.

Aussie shoppers have changed their spending habits to explore more online options

As a result of the pandemic, and the restrictions that came with it, the way people are shopping in Australia has shifted. More than half (54%) are spending more or less than they were before COVID-19.

shopping behaviour impact

Consumer shopping platform preferences are also changing:

Impact COVID had on consumer shopping mix

However, coronavirus isn’t the only contributing factor to changing consumer shopping behaviour. For example, the Australian bushfires have had an impact because they reduced disposable income for the vast population affected. The lack of international tourists, due to border closures, is also causing a sharp decline in foot traffic for the already struggling Australian high street.

eCommerce is emerging as the popular choice for shoppers this Christmas

The lead-up to Christmas is a critical moment for many brick-and-mortar retail businesses. However, this year, 40% of shoppers say they’ll explore online stores to do their seasonal shopping.

Opinions are split around the transition toward online shopping. While 33% see it as a good thing due to convenience, 34% see shopping in-store as a big part of getting into the Christmas spirit. About one third are indifferent.

Similarly, while Aussies have been in lockdown, there has been an increase in how many hours people are spending shopping on the internet.

Considering these results, it’s unsurprising that more people are therefore relying on delivery services. 57% of consumers in the survey say they’re now using online delivery services once or twice a week since COVID-19.

The preferred eCommerce brands in Australia

Respondents were asked where they typically shop online, and while 31% of them selected established online marketplaces (such as eBay and Etsy) as their go-to for online shopping, 23% opted to shop directly from a retailer or brand websites. 18% said they shop from Amazon.

40% of Australian respondents said they have purchased from one or two new online stores. However, 38% also said they have not discovered and purchased from new online stores—sticking to shops they know.

Ways to improve brand visibility for Aussie businesses

Search engine optimisation (SEO) ranks as the most impactful way for businesses to get their name and goods in front of consumers, with 44% of respondents claiming they found new websites via a search engine. Social media platforms are the second most impactful channel, with 28% of responses. Website ads (23%) came in third place and word of mouth (19%) was listed as the fourth.

There is an opportunity for eCommerce vendors to grow their business in the current economic environment. However, with relatively few established brands dominating the space, it is vital they understand the trends driving consumer behaviour and adopt a strategy that reflects this.

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Christmas Shopping Trends: GetApp Australia eCommerce Survey methodology*

This survey ran in October 2020 from an online survey of 1,000 respondents from Australia. The criteria for participants were consumers who have made an online purchase in the last 6 – 12 months.


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