Surge in online spending marks permanent shift toward eCommerce

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The latest 2021 eCommerce Index from PayPal Australia reveals that 52 per cent of Australians are doing their shopping and and making their bill payments online – an increase of 14 per cent on pre-pandemic levels). And while Australians will shift a small amount of their shopping back in-store (three per cent) as restrictions ease, they plan to keep doing about 49 per cent of their shopping and bill payment online post-pandemic.

The research also reveals that 82 per cent of consumers with smartphones now shop via their mobiles and 24 per cent shop online on their mobile. A side effect of the pandemic saw the number of consumers shopping via mobile plummet last year to a five-year low of 56 per cent, presumably as restrictions drove higher use of fixed computers. However, mobile commerce has now bounced back and continues to grow steadily at 69 per cent.

The report also noted that the average Aussie is now spending $35 a month via social channels, up 40 per cent year-on-year from $25 a month in 2020. The biggest social spenders are Gen Z and Gen Y – each spending more than $50 a month on social purchases on average.

Meanwhile, 90 per cent of businesses now have a social media presence though only 35 per cent sell via social, with social commerce accounting for 5 per cent of sales across all businesses that sell partly or wholly online. The Index did find, however, that 30 per cent of businesses will be prioritising investment in social media over the next 12 months.

The report also noted that 25 per cent of Australians now shop on social media, with 14 per cent having made a purchase via social media at least once a month. The most popular platforms for Australian social shoppers are Facebook (70 per cent) and Instagram (42 per cent) with Snapchat and TikTok at 12 per cent each, Pinterest at 11 per cent, and Twitch at 8 per cent. Gen Z social shoppers’ top platform however is Instagram (62 per cent) and while they still shop on Facebook (61 per cent), they are buying more through a broader range of social platforms including Snapchat (27 per cent), TikTok (21 per cent) and Twitch (16 per cent). Still. it’s the websites that are preferred for actual purchases, with 40 per cent saying that after seeing a product on social media, they prefer to go to the website to purchase.

“Social media has become an invaluable channel for businesses to tell their brand story, showcase their latest products and services and connect in an authentic way with their customers,” Peter Cowan, Managing Director of PayPal Australia, said. “With almost half of Australian businesses posting on social media daily, it’s a natural evolution that businesses want to offer social audiences easy and immediate paths to purchase for the products and services they are seeing on their feeds.

“The incredible amount of time we all spend on social media, especially younger people, is positioning social commerce as one of the biggest trends we’ll see in online shopping over the next few years,” Cowan added.