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Finder COVID-19 online shopping report 2020

Finder crunched the numbers to unearth Australia’s online spending habits during the pandemic.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Australians live, work and shop. Schools, universities and offices have transitioned online, along with a significant number of bricks-and-mortar retail stores.

Social distancing measures, lockdown restrictions and store closures mean retailers and shoppers alike have had to rapidly adapt to online purchasing channels. This has catapulted online shopping from being a convenient way to shop to becoming the safest and, at times, the only way to shop. As a result, the ecommerce sector has experienced unprecedented growth throughout 2020 as Australia transitions to a "new normal".

How many Aussies are shopping online?

A nationally representative Finder survey of 1,066 respondents revealed that approximately 88% of Aussies – equivalent to 17 million people – are now shopping online.

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How much are Australians spending online?

Despite the nation entering a recession, the pandemic has pushed Australians to spend more online than they were pre-pandemic. Ecommerce behemoths like Amazon and eBay have been a major enabler of growth throughout this time. As the pandemic persists, more retailers are getting a slice of the pie.

Finder research shows that Aussies are now spending approximately $188 per week on online shopping (including groceries). This is equivalent to $9,776 per year, which is $1,600 more per year compared to pre-pandemic levels. This increase in spending has flushed an extra $167 billion into the economy.

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Males spend slightly more than females, racking up $192 per week online compared to $182 for females.

Millennials are also the most likely to "Add to cart", spending approximately $254 per week online. Baby boomers spend just $91 per week in comparison.

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Spending by state

While there are fewer people buying online in New South Wales, the average resident is spending more ($214 per week) than someone in Victoria ($202) and much more than someone in Queensland ($133).

South Australian residents are shopping online the least, with just 82% spending money online compared to 91% of Victorians and 92% of Queenslanders.

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How much time do Australians spend shopping online?

Finder's research found that the average person is spending approximately 5.3 hours per week browsing online stores, equivalent to 21.2 hours per month.

If the typical work day is 8 hours, this means Aussies are spending almost 3 work days per month – or 36 working days per year – shopping online.

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The research shows it's younger Aussies who are devoting the most time to online shopping. Gen Y takes out the top spot, shopping for around 6.5 hours per week, followed by gen Z who shop for around 5.7 hours on average.

But older Aussies aren't immune either – gen X are spending 5.2 hours and baby boomers are spending 3.7 hours on average.

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Males spend slightly more time shopping online than females – they're spending around 5.7 hours compared to females (4.9 hours on average).

With social distancing measures to remain in place for some time, online shopping will likely remain a defining part of Australia's retail landscape.

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