Consumer habits are shifting with new trends emerging, writes Dr Eloise Zoppos, principal research consultant in Monash Business School’s Australian Consumer and Retail Studies.
A major trend we will likely see in 2023 is a continued focus on the local community.
During pandemic-related restrictions, consumers looked to their local communities to meet their needs around both purchases and connection. Shopping locally and supporting local businesses gave consumers an opportunity to connect with others and also re-think what, how and where they shopped.
Now in a post-pandemic environment, supporting locals will remain salient to Australian shoppers.
For example, our recent research showed that 63% of shoppers rated ‘locally produced’ as important when making non-grocery purchases, while 53% of shoppers were willing to pay more for locally produced products, and 44% had purchased a locally sourced/produced product in the last three months at the time of the research.
Another trend that will continue to gain traction is consumer interest in resell. Research on the resale economy estimates that the secondhand market will double to $77 billion by 2025, with resale – curated quality secondhand – driving the growth.
Retailers are leveraging this interest, with many traditional or well-established retailers entering the resale market for the first time.
Australian fashion brand Assembly Label, for example, recently entered the resell market with their Reworn scheme. Reworn encourages shoppers to bring back their clothes previously purchased from the brand that they’re no longer wearing to receive 10% off their next purchase instore.
Finally, customers will engage in hybrid shopping journeys. While online shopping has been growing in popularity for several years – a trend which was accelerated by the pandemic – the ability to see, touch and trial goods remains an influential touchpoint that is difficult to recreate online.
As consumers continue to engage in hybrid shopping journeys in 2023, retailers must focus on the multi-channel shopping experience more than ever before, and the experience must be seamless and complementary.
Consumers are searching products online, checking whether the store has it in stock, and then buying it in-person. Or they might be searching the product online on their phone whilst viewing the product in-store.
Click-and-collect has also become popular for many consumers and is another way the customer shopping journey is becoming more and more fluid.
Many retailers will review their touchpoints in 2023 to see where they can better serve their customers. For some, this might mean turning from purely online to a physical store. Skincare brand The Ordinary, for example, just opened their first bricks-and-mortar store in Melbourne, offering treatments and customised skincare routines, whilst pureplay surf wear retailer Surfstitch is planning to open bricks-and-mortar stores as part of its future growth strategy.
Retailers will also focus on innovative ways to continue to meet these demands and exceed expectations. Experiential retail will continue to grow and consumers can expect creative, unique and shareable in-store experiences.
One such store to watch out for in 2023 is the opening of beauty retailer MECCA’s new flagship in Melbourne, which has promised to offer a range of edutainment, masterclasses, pop-ups and product launches.
Fast and efficient check out experiences will also become a focus, with brands like UNIQLO already excelling in this space.
Online, Australian shoppers can expect more features for a seamless online shopping experience. One such example was just released by beverage retailer Endeavour Group, who in December unveiled an image search feature that can identify more than 25,000 drink labels on its Dan Murphy’s app.
Then there is sustainability. We conducted research in October 2022 to better understand the attitudes and behaviours of Australians when it comes to sustainability. Our research found that customers are increasingly contemplating the social and environmental impact of their purchases before they buy.
For example, when asked how important sustainability is when making non-grocery purchases, over half of Australian shoppers told us it was important.
From a lifestyle perspective, many shoppers are engaging with sustainable lifestyle practices, including bringing their own shopping bags to stores and recycling product waste. And those that engage in these practices seem to commit to them.
Retailers should consider how to not just appeal to these customers, but how to become an ally to help them make sustainable choices, which in turn will help build a long-term relationship.