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eBay Australia Lockdown: One Year On report

By Chris Dawson March 18, 2021 - 10:30 am

Following the Australia lockdown, an additional one-million Australians have stared to shop with eBay each month as the global pandemic that has transformed the way people live, work and shop. Great news for domestic eBay sellers and if you’re in the UK (or anywhere outside Australia) and not already selling to Australia on eBay then it’s probably time you do.

One year since the first Australia lockdown, eBay, the #1 Aussie shopping site, has used its wealth of data to look at the year that was to forecast what this means for the future of retail in a new report titled Lockdown: One Year On.

During periods of lockdown, younger age groups proved to be the most tech savvy with Generation Z (18-24 years old) doing more than half (57%) of its shopping online. In a surprise turn, Baby Boomers (60+ years old) were quick adopters of ecommerce, posting the biggest increase (69%) on pre-pandemic figures.

“We have witnessed the rapid acceleration of ecommerce first hand. There are now an extra one-million shoppers heading to eBay since the pandemic began, bringing us to 12-million unique monthly visitors.

Not having to physically go into stores and getting the best value were identified as some of the main benefits to shopping online during the pandemic with more than half (58%) saying they feel safer and four in five (81%) finding better deals online compared to in-store. We’ve also seen huge support for homegrown businesses. Searches on eBay for ‘Australian Made’ items rose by more than 430% in July. With 40,000 Aussie businesses on site, it’s easy for shoppers to support local, while enjoying the convenience of being able to find everything in the one place.”
– Tim MacKinnon, Managing Director, eBay Australia

“The past 12 months have been an incredibly volatile period for Australian retail with state lockdowns, ‘panic buying’ and higher levels of discretionary spending. While we saw an uptick in retail spend over the holiday period, online shopping has played a bigger part in this role than ever before.”
– Dominique Lamb, CEO, National Retail Association

Australia lockdown shopping trends

eBay’s Lockdown: One Year On report reveals the shopping trends that emerged in Australia during the pandemic:

Safety first

When COVID Safe measures were enforced around the country, Australians were quick to act. In March alone, sales of hand wash rose by 4,000%. Face mask sales were up more than 700,000% – compared to the US at 5,041%.

The rise of the side hustle

As many tightened the purse strings or used the extra time at home for a clear out, one in five began selling pre-owned items online. More than half describe their online selling as a side hustle and made an average of $4,2922 selling their pre-loved goods. Meanwhile one in ten either started a new business online or moved their existing business online.

Boredom busters

As the nation dealt with differing degrees of lockdown, Australians were desperate for activities that kept them occupied:

  • Bookworms: There’s nothing like curling up with a good book and Aussies did just this, spendingmore than $59-million on books since lockdown began. Favourites included personal finance bestseller The Barefoot Investor with sales up 152% and the Fifty Shades of Grey series which helped drive a fivefold increase in sales of erotic fiction in May.
  • From the small screen: Turns out Australians are a nation heavily influenced by what we’re watching. During the first episode of LEGO® Masters in April, three sets of LEGO® were sold every minute on eBay. Meanwhile sales of Chicago Bulls jerseys jumped by 283% in May as people tuned into The Last Dance.
  • Shopping from home: The rise of agile working also played a key role in the uptick of online shopping with three in four of those working flexibly admitting they had more time to have a cheeky browse online while working from home (WFH). Men were more likely than women (56% compared to 44%) to be shopping online while WFH as they no longer had the embarrassment of
    hiding deliveries from their colleagues.

“With the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, 83% of people say they plan to continue shopping online as much as they are now, indicating there has been a permanent shift in the way the nation shops following the pandemic.”
– Tim MacKinnon, Managing Director, eBay Australia

“This is without doubt the most extraordinary time to be a consumer. Over the next five years alone we will experience more innovation than we’ve seen in the last 50 years.

Much of what we are seeing today is just the tip of the iceberg for the new normal where online platforms, like marketplaces, integrate themselves into this new world of intelligent experiences, where data will be utilised to make sure the experiences are personalised at every single moment, from computers as CEOs to digital storefronts and virtual ecommerce dating assistants. Yes, the future will be different. But the future will also be amazing.”
– Chris Riddell, Futurist

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