Australians have managed to break the all-time online shopping record in December after a huge week of online shopping, according to numbers released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The ABS data shows that Australians purchased more products online in the first week of December than ever recorded, with more than one million households purchasing online goods for the first time this year.
Online purchases of ‘non-food’ items accounted for 17% of all sales recorded in October, which is 6% higher than October of 2019; these sales peaked in April, accounting for 21 per cent of sales.
According to the ABS data, Australians managed to break the all-time online shopping record after purchasing more than 42% more online goods than the same week last year.
In addition to this figure, more than $3.2 billion worth of goods were purchased online in October, making a 70% increase over the $1.9 billion purchased in October, 2019.
Australia Post noted in its latest report that “the first week of December and the week of Black Friday recorded the biggest number of online purchases Australia has ever seen,” adding that the postal service has “consistently been delivering over 13 million parcels each week in December.”
According to the figures, Sydney’s suburb of Lakemba purchased the most online goods per region.
The dataset shows that the gravitation toward online shopping was most prominent in the early phase of the COVID-19 lockdowns, with more than a 56% increase coinciding with the implementation of nation-wide COVID-19 restrictions.
Online shopping increased in March, before dropping in April and recovering steadily throughout the year. Then, for the month of Christmas, Australians managed to break the all-time online shopping record for December.
The news coincided with another release from the ABS who says that retail turnover for the month of November increased by a staggering 7%, with turnover up 13.2% compared to November 2019 figures.
Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys at the ABS, Ben James says that “Victoria saw a large rise, up 21 per cent, as retail stores experienced a full month of trade following the easing of coronavirus restrictions in that state. Excluding Victoria, retail sales rose 2.7 per cent.”
“By industry, household goods retailing (13 per cent) led the rises, as Black Friday sales combined with major product releases in the electrical subgroup, led to a spike in turnover across the country.”
Head of Business Analytics at the University of Sydney’s business school, Andrey Vasnev has told the SMH that the record breaking month of December indicates a potential shift in the buying habits of Australians.
“The move online was already happening but COVID-19 brought it to a completely new level, it made it the norm,” he said.
“The whole population suddenly had to know how to buy online and get comfortable with it… I would say a lot of people who started shopping online will continue to do that,” Vasnev added.
Since that initial jump in online shopping, the data shows that online sales have continued to increase at a steady pace, exploding in the first week of December.
“When the lockdown was announced people went crazy and we had the toilet paper crisis and then at the beginning of lockdown, they’d already bought a lot of stuff so there was a drop,” he added.