Doorbuster sales and queues for BFCM eliminated as Australia navigates pandemic shopping

Shaun Broughton, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Shopify

A new survey from Shopify, a leading commerce platform, demonstrates the ways Australians are evolving their shopping habits and preferences due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leading up to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) sales in late November, almost double the amount of Australian shoppers plan to shop online in some capacity (90%) when compared to those planning on shopping in-store in some capacity (54%).

Increased online shopping is the main way that COVID-19 will impact BFCM purchases (mentioned by 60% of BFCM shoppers). Australian shoppers plan to spend on average $769 (down from $908 in 2020) over the BFCM long weekend.

Industry frustration have contributed to the spike

Macro disruptions to the retail industry, resulting in supply chain disruptions and shipping delays, have also contributed to Australian shoppers’ habits this year.

Click and collect was reported as more popular among younger and middle-aged online BFCM shoppers, with 50% of 18-34 and 31% of 35-54 online BFCM shoppers planning to use curbside pickup during BFCM, compared to just 17% of those aged 55 and over.

In spite of the well-reported burdens on delivery services worldwide, Australian shoppers maintain high expectations of shipping, with a clear majority (69%) of online BFCM shoppers expecting their purchases will be shipped for free.

72% expect the retailer to cover the cost of shipping of any return items.

Consumers waver on some shopping norms

Shaun Broughton, Managing Director of Shopify APAC said:

“Consumers are prepared to make adjustments in how they shop to accommodate COVID-19, but will not make concessions in certain areas, such as shipping or delivery options.”

“Agility of the Australian shopper was tested and they expect rewards for their adapting.”

“As merchants evolve and reimage retail creatively throughout the challenges posed by 2021, shoppers too have adjusted their habits, preferences, and expectations in tandem.”

“Shopping online will continue dominating as bargain hunters try to nab a deal.”

“Whether it’s varied shipping options, better product discoverability, or the ability to buy directly from social media, merchants need to reinforce their technology and operations to avoid losing out in this highly competitive time of year.”

Broughton also remarked, “The fact Australians are planning on spending slightly less on BFCM sales this year could be because they’ve already shopped online so much this year, and perhaps are taking precautions around returning to physical stores too quickly.”

Local shopping was a big winner when it came to where BFCM shoppers plan on spending.

60% of shoppers plan on purchasing BFCM items from locally-owned stores, followed by department stores (53%) and big-box retail locations (40%).

“With so many amazing and unique local retailers emerging around the country, keeping Australia’s entrepreneurial economy well and truly thriving, it’s no wonder consumers are keen to throw their support behind local businesses that may have done it tough in 2021.”

Other key findings from the Shopify survey

  • 44% of BFCM shoppers plan to spend about the same as 2020 and 40% plan to spend more.

  • Men plan to spend more than women ($900 vs. $651), as are those aged 18-54-years old ($940 among 18-34-year-olds, $743 among 35-54-year-olds, and $462 among those 55+).

  • 36% of online BFCM shoppers want to avoid shopping in-store because of COVID-19.

  • Younger and middle-aged online BFCM shoppers are likely to purchase an item directly from a social media platform, like Facebook (57% and 44%) or Instagram (58% and 31%).