Consumer COVID-19 shopping habits revealed

BY Australian Retailers Association
29 May 2020

Service Integrity, a leading mystery shopping and research company, recently published COVID-19 nationwide retail survey results.

The study was conducted to answer the questions many retailers are asking about new world buying behaviours. Service Integrity employs over 30,000 mystery shoppers throughout Australia and has worked with Australia’s largest retail brands since 2003.

How have buying habits changed?

Of the 680 respondents, only 18% of people said COVID-19 would NOT affect their buying habits but 41% said the changes would be at significant or change their habits completely. The results are similar for men and women, but 29% of young people (18-25) believe their buying habits will change completely, whereas only 12% of the 50+ group believe their buying habits will change completely.

Are people confident in crowded locations?

62% of people are not confident in crowded locations. There is a significant difference between men and women, 55% of men are not confident whereas 65% of women are not comfortable in crowded locations. The least confident people are those in states where COVID flareups have occurred with 89% of Tasmanians and 67% of Victorians not confident but only 54% of people in W.A. lacking confidence in crowded spaces.

The big spenders have said online lack of confidence and restrictions has changed our online buying habits significantly. 36% of people have diverted some spending to online. The move is most pronounced for people earning over $150,000 per year where 46% of respondents have diverted to online. Again, the states with the COVID-19 flareups have the biggest diversion to online with 44% of Tasmanians and 41% of Victorians diverting online, but only 18% of South Australians and 29% of West Australians diverting online.

Where to in the future?

Overall, 37% of people will now shop more online with 52% of those earning over $150,000 per year and only 33% of those earning under $50,000 per year increasing online spend. Unsurprisingly, 64% of those under 25 years of age will increase their online spending but 30% of the over 50s choosing to do so. “A 30% increase in online spending is a massive move in shopping habits” Steven Di Pietro Director Service Integrity Mystery Shopping.

What does this mean?

The impact on future retailing is seismic. Across all sectors the change will affect at least 30% of people, whether it be by age, income, gender or even location. Most importantly, if retailers want to maintain their retail stores against this force, they must give consumers confidence that public places will be safe.

What you do about it?

As the rules are being re-written, retailers need to check that customers and staff are adhering to the new rules so they don’t destroy their brand, or worse still, spread the virus. 

Retailers must do more than just issue a policy, they must monitor relentlessly using tools such as COVID Audits and Mystery Shops.

For more information: Steven Di Pietro Service Integrity Research and Mystery Shopping +61405478452 sdipietro@serviceintegrity.com.au or www.serviceintegrity.com.au

New call-to-action

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $320 billion sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating, and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

Become a Retail Insider

Join 11,000+ Australian Retailers