As you would guess…Lockdowns accelerated online shopping, yet the trend is slowing. Purchase volumes grew during the lockdowns of 2021 – that is, months in which restrictions on non-essential retail were in place for more than two weeks.
Shoppers intend to buy more local products online. Even though growth is slowing, there is a silver lining for Australian online retailers. 27% of shoppers from 40 countries say they will buy more from domestic retailers in the future, while 31% of Australian shoppers plan to buy more local products.4 This suggests there will be more opportunities to capture local market share.
In parallel, growth during non lockdown months softened compared to 2020. In New South Wales, the average online purchase volume during lockdown months was 1.7x the volume in non-lockdown months. In Victoria, it was 1.4x the volume.
When viewed across time, the trend toward flatter growth becomes much more apparent. Over two years, growth in 2020 was 83 percent, about double that of 2019. In 2021, this slowed to 73 percent. In Victoria, the sixth lockdown (in 2021) had a lower impact on online purchase volume than the second lockdown (in 2020), as evaluated by comparing average growth during lockdown months to pre-pandemic months over a two-year period.
These findings suggest that the industry is returning to normalcy, with online purchases returning to the pre-pandemic levels of growth. Following years of exceptional growth in internet transactions, YOY growth in 2021 was lower. When we look at non-lockdown months in 2021, online purchase volume increased by 6.4 percent year on year. This is lower than the previous two years (52.2 percent year on year in 2020 and 17.8 percent year on year in 2019), and indicates the slower growth expected throughout 2022 if the COVID-19 scenario continues stable.