17 March 2021: An additional one-million³ Australians now shop with eBay each month as a result of the global pandemic that has transformed the way people live, work and shop. One year since the first lockdown, eBay, Australia’s number one shopping site,³ 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 per cent)² of its shopping online. In a surprise turn, Baby Boomers (60+ years old) were quick adopters of e-commerce, posting the biggest increase (69 per cent)² on pre-pandemic figures.
eBay Australia’s Managing Director, Tim MacKinnon says, “We have witnessed the rapid acceleration of e-commerce first hand. There are now an extra one-million shoppers heading to eBay since the pandemic began, bringing us to 12-million unique monthly visitors³.
“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 per cent)² saying they feel safer and four in five (81 per cent)² 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 per cent in July.4 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.”
National Retail Association CEO, Dominique Lamb says, “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.”
eBay’s Lockdown: One Year On report reveals the shopping trends that emerged in Australia during the pandemic:
Safety first: When COVIDSafe measures were enforced around the country, Australians were quick to act. In March alone, sales of hand wash rose by 4,000 per cent⁵. Face mask sales were up more than 700,000 per cent⁵ - compared to the US at 5,041 per cent⁶.
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 (22 per cent)² began selling pre-owned items online. More than half (52 per cent)² describe their online selling as a side hustle and made an average of $4,292² selling their pre-loved goods. Meanwhile one in ten (12 per cent)² 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, spending more than $59-million⁸ on books since lockdown began. Favourites included personal finance bestseller The Barefoot Investor with sales up 152 per cent⁶ and the Fifty Shades of Grey series which helped drive a fivefold⁹ increase in sales of erotic fiction in May.
- From the small screen: Turns out we’re 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 eBay¹². Meanwhile sales of Chicago Bulls jerseys jumped by 283 per cent in May¹³ 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 (75 per cent)² 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 per cent compared to 44 per cent)² to be shopping online while WFH as they no longer had the embarrassment of hiding deliveries from their colleagues.
MacKinnon says, “With the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, 83 per cent² 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.”
Futurist Chris Riddell says, “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 e-commerce dating assistants. Yes, the future will be different. But the future will also be amazing.”
For more information on the shopping habits of Australians, view the full Lockdown: One Year On report here.
For more information, please contact:
We Empower People and Create Economic Opportunity
eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) is a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers in 190 markets around the world. We exist to enable economic opportunity for individuals, entrepreneurs, businesses and organisations of all sizes. The ebay.com marketplace and its localised counterparts, as well as the eBay mobile apps, are among the world’s largest and most vibrant marketplaces for discovering great value and unique selection. For more information, visit ebayinc.com.
About the report
This report is based on eBay Australia sales data and commissioned third-party research. Lonergan Research surveyed 2,131 Australians aged 18+ between 25 January and 1 February 2021. Data was weighted post-interview to latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
1 ebay.com.au data, March 2020 - 25 February 2021
2 Lonergan Research surveyed 2,131 Australians aged 18+, 25 January 2021 - 1 February 2021
3 Similarweb, December 2019 - December 2020
4 ebay.com.au search data, January 2020 vs July 2020
5 ebay.com.au data, March 2020 vs March 2019
6 ebay.com data, March 2020 vs March 2019
7 ebay.co.uk, March 2020 vs March 2019
8 ebay.com.au data, March 2020 - 25 February 2021
9 ebay.com.au data, April 2020 vs April 2019
10 ebay.com.au data, October 2020 vs October 2019
11 ebay.com.au data, November 2020 - December 2020 vs November 2019 - December 2019
12 ebay.com.au data, 9 - 23 April 2020
13 ebay.com.au data, 19 April 2020 - 12 May 2020