Online spending on clothes, shoes and accessories surges during the pandemic

- November 24, 2021 2 MIN READ
online shopping is rising amongst women

It was a case of “all dressed up with nowhere to go” for the majority of Australians over the last three months as consumer spending on clothes, shoes and accessories accounted for over half of all purchases (57 per cent) made online during the last lockdown.

This was ahead of groceries (41 per cent), household goods like homewares and hardware (33 per cent) and personal care goods such as cosmetics and baby care (32 per cent).

The findings were revealed from research by Monash Business School’s Australian Consumer and Retail Studies (ACRS) and confirms Aussie’s eCommerce spending habits surged during lockdowns.

University researchers revealed 84 per cent of Australians purchased online during the last lockdowns with over a third (37 per cent) of these shoppers making weekly online purchases.

Half (50 per cent) of online shoppers reported that they had made more online purchases since the beginning of the pandemic, compared to prior, while only a small number had made less (4 per cent).

When it came to buying clothing and apparel, it was female shoppers who purchased more clothing, footwear and accessories, household and personal care goods compared to males.

Online shopping gaining momentum

“Prior to the pandemic, there was a clear divide amongst shoppers over physical versus online shopping experiences, with over two-thirds (68 per cent) of Australian shoppers using physical stores as their main channel for non-grocery retail purchases, while just under one-third (32 per cent) used online methods,” Stephanie Atto, Principal Research Consultant at the ACRS, said.

“As a result of COVID-19 lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions, online became the main non-grocery retail channel, with almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of Australian shoppers using online methods as their main channel for non-grocery retail purchases.

“But what is most interesting is that Australians are now equally divided on their preference for bricks-and-mortar versus online as their preferred main channel – 50 per cent prefer physical stores as their preferred main channel, while the other 50 per cent now prefer online channels.”

Fast or free?

Despite shipping delays and supply chain disruptions, Australian consumers opted for free shipping over fast shipping.

As a result, standard delivery (3+ days) options were the most frequently used method to deliver goods purchased online, with two-thirds (65 per cent) of  Aussies surveyed selecting this method most often. Only 11 per cent of Australian shoppers opted for same-day shipping and 12 per cent made use of express post options.

Physical retailers eCommerce stores favoured

As eCommerce boomed during the pandemic, Aussie shoppers turned to physical retailer websites to make the majority of their online purchases. Two-thirds (64 per cent) of Australian eCommerce shoppers made a purchase from the websites of physical retailers in the past three months. These websites were also most frequently used for product information such as colour, size, measurements, and features.

“With consumers using eCommerce channels more than ever before, it is now increasingly important that retailers provide shoppers with seamless omnichannel experiences to meet their increasing online expectations.

“As retailers focus on improving their digital integration in the retail experience, adding personalised touches will help retailers continue to connect with their customers in a deeper way,” said Atto.

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