New e-commerce research finds fashion purchases have risen since 2021, while noting that convenience and value for money will be key to retailers weathering an imminent economic downturn.

According to the Australian Ecommerce Report 2022 released by IAB Australia and Pureprofile, clothing, shoes, and fashion are the most popular online purchases in the last year at 74%, up slightly from 72% in 2021.

The report, which pooled 1,000 Australian online shoppers’ attitudes and behaviours, also found that online shopping has increased since 2021, with 83% of shoppers buying every month. This is despite the growth in foot traffic across brick and mortar.

Further, convenience was named as an important factor for online purchasing by 77% of respondents, with value for money identified as a compelling feature for e-commerce (84%).

Fast shipping declined as a driver of purchases.

IAB Australia CEO Gai Le Roy said that since March 2020, consumer habits around online purchasing have changed.

“Retailers have made investments in digital transformation which has resulted in a huge growth in ecommerce expenditure,” Le Roy said.

“This growth has continued into 2022, but with the expectation of a future economic downturn, retailers will need to service customers who have embraced the convenience of home delivery as well as click and collect.”

This also includes focusing on value for money as the rising cost of living continues to strangle household budgets.

While there is an opportunity for brands to create seamless omnichannel shopping experiences with value for money at the forefront, the report also issued a warning. Retail marketers are urged to assess their marketing strategies more regularly into 2023 to ensure they can adjust activities to respond to economic changes. This includes navigating the continuing impact of covid.

The largest online shopping growth area was the purchase of groceries, increasing from 54% in 2021 to 64% in 2022.
Martin Filz, CEO of Pureprofile, commented further:

“After a challenging period where retailers were forced to pivot to online and many flourished, those retailers now find themselves at an interesting juncture – needing to maintain their growth while also being aware of the economic environment.

“Through this year it will be especially important for retailers to keep close to their consumers and examine changing sentiment swiftly.”

Regarding specific age groups and their purchases, 30 – 39-year-olds were identified as more likely than any other age group to purchase a range of different products online, while 18 – 29-year-olds were most likely to purchase jewellery, handbags, and accessories online. Those aged between 40 and 49 were interested in electronics, technology, and mobile phone purchases online.

Two-thirds of online shoppers were reported as saying cost of living pressures mean they don’t have as much to spend on less essential retail shopping this year, while 65% reported the potential for further interest rate rises means they are more cautious about spending, particularly young families.

Those currently experiencing cost of living pressures are more attracted to online shopping for price comparisons and for finding specific products. They are more likely to be looking for value in programs such as store loyalty cards.

Other research findings include:

  • 47% of online shoppers have purchased from a direct (to consumer) brand, while 31% have purchased multiple direct brands.
  • 48% of online shoppers are aware of shoppable advertising, with 21% of 18-29’s and 25% of 30-39’s having made an online purchase this way.
  • Nine out of ten shoppers signed up to at least one shopper reward program – 40% of those signed up to rewards program have four or more cards (down from 45% in 2021).
  • Almost half of online shopper’s say purchasing from an ethical brand is important.
  • 29% of shoppers said that if they trust a brand, they will buy without looking at the price.
  • 59% of 18-29’s use social media for product inspiration, while 30-39’s rely more heavily on friends and family or shopping events and over 50’s were most heavily influenced by online search and emails from retailers.
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