While Australian’s spent big online during the pandemic, it was the retailers with a physical presence that performed the strongest.

Research by Monash Business School’s Australian Consumer and Retail Studies (ACRS) showed that 84 per cent of Australians had purchased non-grocery retail online over the past three months and a third of those shoppers make weekly online purchases.

However, 64 per cent of these purchases were through websites of physical retailers and Stephanie Atto, Principal Research Consultant at ACRS, said it highlights the importance of retailers creating an online presence.

“With consumers using online channels more than ever before, it is now increasingly important that retailers provide shoppers with seamless omnichannel experiences to meet their increasing online expectations.

“As retailers focus on improving their digital integration in the retail experience, adding personalised touches will help retailers continue to connect with their customers in a deeper way.”

Atto said prior to the pandemic 68 per cent of shoppers preferred to use physical stores as their main channel for non-grocery retail purchases, but since being forced into using online a number of shoppers have decided to continue using that method.

“As a result of COVID-19 lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions, online became the main non-grocery retail channel, with almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of Australian shoppers using online methods as their main channel for non-grocery retail purchases.

“But what is most interesting is that Australians are now equally divided on their preference for bricks-and-mortar versus online as their preferred main channel – 50 per cent prefer physical stores as their preferred main channel, while the other 50 per cent now prefer online channels.”

The research also revealed that Australian consumers were more likely to be enticed by free shipping as opposed to fast shipping, despite the delays that have been occurring across the country.