More than 50 per cent of Australian shoppers want to buy locally sourced and produced products, according to new research from the Commonwealth Bank.
The inaugural CommBank Consumer Insights Report offers a wide-ranging analysis of the Australian consumer, with the first edition focussed on evaluating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on consumer lifestyle and behaviours.
The research shows more Australians are choosing to shop locally, supporting local online retailers and manufacturers as well as suburban shopping centres and neighbourhood stores. This is across a variety of categories including recreational goods (59 per cent), fashion (58 per cent), electronics (55 per cent), and groceries (53 per cent). Additionally, almost two thirds (61 per cent) of consumers are praising local businesses for their adaptability to the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Commonwealth Bank’s Executive Manager, Consumer and Diversified Industries, Jerry Macey, said: “It’s great to see consumers supporting local Australian businesses. We’ve seen Aussie businesses adapting to consumers’ changing needs and their customers have noticed. There is goodwill among customers and an overall perception that the retail experience has improved across online, in-store and delivery services. It’s a credit to these businesses that they’ve been able to adapt and thrive during such a challenging period.”
The report shows one in four consumers have increased online purchases, with the biggest change in online shoppers’ activities during the pandemic being an increase in purchases made from Australian online retailers. This trend looks set to continue – with nearly one in two people (49 per cent) shopping more with domestic online retailers in 2020, and 52 per cent saying they will continue to do so this year. In contrast, consumers who made purchases from online retailers based offshore indicate their number of purchases moving forward will taper or revert to pre-pandemic levels.
Homeware and furniture brand, Papaya, is one Aussie business that has seen firsthand the trend towards buying local – with the company more than doubling their online sales in recent months.
Robyn Connelly, Papaya’s founder and CEO said: “When we launched the brand 25 years ago, our focus was on building the in-store offering where people could touch and feel the product, but the pandemic has accelerated the trend to an integrated marketplaces with online at its heart.
“Today, we’re finding customers want to interact with businesses seamlessly and we use social media extensively to engage and interact with our audience. It has become one marketplace, where shoppers research online and buy in store, or research in-store and buy online or they click and collect. They’ve done their homework and they know what they want, and that’s the strength of having a strong online presence. It’s where we’re seeing much of our growth.”
Recognising the pandemic’s impact on people’s behaviour, Mr Macey said: “We saw a seismic shift in how people spent their time and this has led them to think about what is most important to them. Consumers adopted a more local focus, and whether that’s on Australian made products, or shopping in their local area, we expect this to remain a priority.”
Consumer behaviour highlights
- Back to normal – More than 65 per cent of consumers expect spending on groceries, cafes, restaurants, personal care, and hardware will return to pre-pandemic levels.
- Pandemic spending – Over 40 per cent of consumers managed to cut their overall spending levels during the pandemic, while 39 per cent didn’t see any change, and 19 per cent increased their spending. Just under half (44 per cent) of those who spent less, expect to continue to do so during 2021.
- Priority reset – More than 55 per cent of those who spent more time reading and listening to podcasts say they will continue to do so. 56 per cent of those who spent more time with their partners or children say they will retain this habit, and 53 per cent of those who cooked more at home intend to continue to do so instead of dining out.
- Mobile wallet use rising – The majority of consumers reported using cash less frequently than before the pandemic. 39 per cent of those who use a mobile wallet such as Apple Pay report doing so more frequently, with Gen Z and Gen Y driving the adoption of mobile wallets.
To celebrate all things local, not-for-profit company, Australian Made, has launched Australian Made Week (24-30 May) which promotes the positive impact buying locally has on the broader economy and Australian jobs.