The Commonwealth Bank has just released its inaugural CommBank Consumer Insights Report on how the pandemic has reshaped consumer behaviours, expectations and intentions.
The comprehensive research has found more than 50 per cent of shoppers prefer to buy local.
The survey was conducted in January 2021 by ACA Research on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank. More than 5,656 consumers of goods and services took part across the country, for a national perspective.
The report found shoppers are increasingly supporting local online retailers and manufacturers as well as suburban shopping centres and neighbourhood stores, across multiple categories. These include recreational goods (59 per cent), fashion (58 per cent), electronics (55 per cent) and groceries (53 per cent).
In addition, 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 the local support is fantastic news for local Australian businesses, and a win-win for customers, too.
“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,” Mr Macey said.
The research found some interesting trends:
- One in four consumers increased their online purchases, particularly Australian online retailers, during the pandemic.
- Nearly one in two said they shopped with domestic online retailers in 2020, and indicated they will continue to so in 2021.
- Consumers who made purchases from international online retailers indicate their number of purchases will now taper, or revert to pre-pandemic levels.
Local homeware business and furniture business Papaya found online sales have more than doubled in recent months.
The company’s founder and CEO, Robyn Connelly, said the pandemic accelerated the trend to transform into an integrated business. Whereas it used to focus on the customer’s in-store experience, it now has a much greater emphasis on its online business.
“Today, we’re finding customers want to interact with businesses seamlessly and we use social media extensively to engage and interact with our audience,” the CEO said.
“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.”
It seems that during, and after the pandemic, consumers adopted a more local focus on Australian-made products and shopping in local areas. This may have partly been due to being in lockdown in local areas, but the CommBank’s Jerry Macey expects the trend to continue and remain a priority.
“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,” Mr Macey said.
Consumer behaviour highlights from the report include:
- Back to normal – More than 65 per cent of consumers expect spending on groceries, cafés, 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 said they will continue to do so. Fifty-six per cent of those who spent more time with their partners or children said 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. Thirty-nine 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.
As the Commonwealth Bank releases its first-edition Consumers Insights Report, not-for-profit company Australian Made is also capitalising on the Aussie-made buying frenzy.
It’s celebrating all things local, with the launch of this week’s “Australia Made Week” (24–30 May), with the aim to promote the positive impact of buying locally and how it can boost jobs and the Australian economy.