Despite e-commerce boom, Aussies favour shopping in-store more than any other country

Consumer behaviour is constantly changing, and while you might think e-commerce is the dominant shopping choice, new research shows Aussies still prefer to shop in-store.

Over the past two years, the Australian retail sector faced ongoing challenges, forcing retailers to swiftly pivot and shift their focus to innovation in order to survive. Retailers that elevated operations to navigate the enforcement of lockdowns, state border closures and trading restrictions have emerged more resilient and capable in the face of changing consumer behaviours.

New independent research commissioned by financial technology platform Adyen has identified the changing expectations of Australian consumers and key retail trends impacting the retail sector, including insights that will help retailers shape, grow, and realise their ambitions for 2023 and beyond.

The Adyen Australia 2022 Retail Report outlines survey findings of over 50,000 respondents (consumers and businesses) across 26 countries, including 2,000 Australian adults and 502 Australian businesses. The report highlights key shopping and payment trends, as well as the importance of unified commerce in ensuring the retail industry’s resilience and adaptability in 2022 and beyond.

Fast Facts:

  • 73% of Australian respondents prefer to shop in-store – compared to the global average of 59%.
  • (67%) say physical stores are an important touchpoint, even if they shop with the same retailer online.
  • 56% of shoppers would be more loyal to retailers offering endless aisle; yet only 28% of businesses enable customers to shop and complete transactions across online and offline channels
  • 51% of consumers are more loyal to retailers who have physical stores and online options
  • 28% of Australian businesses currently enable customers to shop and complete transactions across online and offline channels.
  • 63% of businesses with unified commerce grew in revenue by 20% or more in 2021 

“For Australian consumers, it’s all about the experience. Just in the last five years alone we’ve seen consumer preference on shopping channels and payment methods shift from one to another, but there are two things that remain constant – It’s the reign of seamless experiences with cashless being king. Retailers who understand and adapt to this, regardless of platform or payment method, will be well-positioned to take on the next wave of retail innovation,” said Hayley Fisher, country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Adyen.

Australia decides: In-store vs online shopping

While Australians have become more tech savvy, consumers still prefer shopping in a physical store over online, with 73% surveyed choosing to shop in a physical store – 14% more than any other country surveyed. Since the pandemic and ongoing lockdowns, 34% of consumers say they have a new appreciation for being able to touch, feel, or physically try products in-store before they buy.

Although consumers continue to embrace ecommerce and online shopping, over two thirds of consumers (67%) say physical stores are an important touchpoint, even if they shop with the same retailer online. 48% say they like to go in-store for customer service or to get help with a product they couldn’t get online and 51% are more loyal to retailers who have physical stores and online options.

Unified commerce is a billion-dollar opportunity

More than two decades since ecommerce emerged, the pace of digital evolution in retail continues to accelerate. As data and analytics expand, so do opportunities for retailers to extract value through innovative products and services. There is a direct relationship between a retailer’s use of technology and their success, with Adyen’s research showing 63% of retailers who deployed unified commerce grew by 20% or more. 

According to the research, the key to realising Australia’s retail ambitions is investing in the digital tools that will improve operations and appeal to customers at the same time. The pandemic has proven that consumers want businesses to embrace technology that will enhance their in-store experience, including loyalty programs.

More than half of Aussie consumers (58%) think retailers need to use technology to make their loyalty and rewards program easier and more effective. 50% of consumers said they are more likely to shop with a retailer if their loyalty program worked automatically through their payment card, yet only a handful of retailers use this innovation.

With a majority of Australians preferring to shop in physical stores, retailers who offer unique in-store experiences are highly valued. In fact, the majority of Australians say they are more loyal to retailers that have physical stores and online options. Most Australians (53%) would be more loyal to businesses that let them buy things online and return in-store or let them purchase an item that is out of stock in-store but available online, and have it sent directly to their home (56%).

Experience is critical

Experience matters for Australians, with shoppers citing an appreciation for retailers that provide a seamless shopping experience across all touchpoints. As shoppers continue to favour the in-store experience, retailers need to emulate physical store experiences as much as possible online to show that they understand their customer preferences.

The report also highlights Australians’ low tolerance for bad shopping experiences. 66% of Australians said they would avoid shopping with businesses after a bad shopping experience (whether online or in-store) and 54% of Australians want retailers to be able to sell across multiple channels. Australian retailers are also aware of these increased consumer expectations, with 56% of businesses surveyed in Australia acknowledging that their customers are less tolerant of poor experiences.

“While Aussies were quick to adopt ecommerce during the pandemic, it didn’t diminish their love for in-store shopping,” said Hayley Fisher. If anything, Aussies now expect retailers to provide the best of both worlds. To continue to remain agile and competitive, retailers should be driving towards meeting these consumer expectations, delivering exceptional customer experiences both in-store and online through unified commerce.”

For more information and insights on the Adyen Australia 2022 Retail Report, download the report here.


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