Online is getting another boost as lockdowns spark a surge in e-commerce purchases. The ABS has recorded the highest monthly levels of online purchases in its history.
New figures from the ABS indicate that retail turnover fell 2.7 percent month-on-month, and is down 3.1 percent compared to the same period last year. Online sales were $3.7 billion in July 2021, the highest level of monthly sales in its recorded history. This is an increase of $603 million, or 19.3 percent compared to June.
These figures aren’t a surprise for Paul Zahra, the CEO of the Australian Retailers Association. “It’s no surprise to see a surge in online sales with so many people subject to stay-at-home orders in July as lockdowns began to take hold,” he shared this afternoon.
“Unfortunately, this increased demand is contributing to the increased stress our supply chains are already under, which has been an ongoing issue for Australian retailers throughout the pandemic. There’re several factors that are compounding the problem as the busy Christmas shopping season approaches.”
This comes as Australia Post placed a temporary pause on its online parcel deliveries to reduce the backlog. While this pause is short-term (September 4-7), it aims to “clear record parcel volumes in parts of [Australia Post’s] network impacted by COVID-19” the company explained. “Australia Post currently has 500 people in necessary self-isolation, placing increased pressure on our network, while we also manage flight restrictions, temporary facility closures, and parcel volumes as high as Christmas peak period.”
Read More: Australia Post’s Temporary Pause on Online Deliveries: Experts Weigh In
There has been a cap placed on international flights, which may put extra pressure on shipping. What’s more, container costs have escalated up to four times the usual rate, Zahra said. “Retailers are having to order stock much earlier than they normally would, with most larger retailers building up healthy inventory levels to ensure that they can satisfy their customers,” he shared.
“The key message for consumers in all of this is to be prepared. Give plenty of time for your items to be delivered and it’s also an important reminder not to leave your Christmas shopping till the last minute. These issues are likely to be with us for the months ahead, so consumers should consider shopping early to avoid disappointment.”
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