Meet Australia’s new savvy online consumers

Nov 21 2021 | PayPal editorial staff

A boom in online shopping among Australians is one of the biggest impacts COVID-19 has had on consumer spending, and this digital pivot is here to stay.
According to PayPal’s 2021 eCommerce Index, coming out of COVID Australians currently make just over half (52%) of their purchases and bill payments online, with survey results showing this will drop by only a fraction, to 48% post-pandemic. This increased appetite is matched by savvier consumer attitudes, with new factors determining whether a shopper completes their purchase or not.

Mobile online purchases are on the rise

In 2020 at the height of the pandemic’s first wave, 56% of Australians were shopping via mobile device, a drop of almost 20% on the previous year. But in 2021 consumers have picked up their phones once more with 82% currently shopping on mobile devices.
More than 2-in-5 (44%) Australians have made an impulse purchase online in the past year, led by Gens Z (67%) and Y (52%). More shoppers (37%) made spontaneous purchases on mobile devices than on laptops or desktops (24%), but customers shopping on mobile also tend to have less patience than those shopping on their computer. PayPal’s 2021 eCommerce Index found that more than 1-in-4 shoppers will abandon a purchase if it takes too long or is too difficult on their mobiles.


Simon Banks, Director PayPal Enterprise said, “It’s a good time for businesses to double-down on their mobile-optimisation efforts to improve their conversion rates, particularly as Gen Z consumers, who have never known life without a mobile, are gaining purchase power. Savvy Gen Z shoppers are twice as prone (43%) to abandon their cart on a poorly mobile-optimised site than their Gen X parents (20%).”
Other key factors that prompt online shoppers to abandon carts, regardless of device, is if they feel their data security is at risk (35%) or if their preferred payment method is not available (35%).

Flexible returns policies win over savvy consumers.

Satisfactory return policies and customer support are also significant factors in savvy consumers’ decision-making process. One-in-three shoppers are less likely to buy if returns policies are deemed lacking or there’s inadequate customer support.
Simon Banks commented, “How you manage your returns policy has big implications on customer satisfaction, inventory management as well as the bottom line. In light of the uptick in online shopping driven by COVID, it’s the right time for businesses to review their returns policies for areas of improvement and increased flexibility. If you also have a bricks n’ mortar presence, flexible return options that let customers buy online and return in-store, are one way to help improve conversions.

Targeted discounts lead to conversions

In 2020, more than half of Australian consumers (54%) revealed they’re always on the lookout for discount codes and sales when shopping online. This appetite for a good bargain has continued this year, with 68% of consumers revealing they’re more likely to purchase if discounts are offered.


Australians are getting savvier in their discount discovery journey too. Nearly 1-in-5 shoppers (18%) will add items to their cart, then hold off completing the purchase as they wait for the merchant to send an offer or voucher via cart recovery emails or retargeting ads. For younger shoppers, this figure jumps to 1-in-3 (34%).
Social media is another key avenue for Australians to actively discover deals. One-in-five shoppers (21%) follow their favourite brands on social media to stay up to date on sales, discounts and exclusive promo codes, suggesting businesses that actively publicise deals on their social channels are more likely to benefit from higher conversions.

Download PayPal’s 2021 eCommerce Index to learn more about how Australian consumers are getting savvier.
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