Standby for a COVID Christmas

We all know that Christmas activity starts well before the holidays, however indications are that Santa has geared up even earlier this year, with sales events in November drawing keen interest from millions of consumers who are purchasing Christmas presents online, including one in four who plan to buy Christmas presents earlier than usual this year .

Unsurprisingly, online has become a massively more utilised channel amidst the COVID pandemic (currently up 73% year on year).  Consumers are all too familiar with postal service delays in busy periods, and in anticipating this is only going to be more so the case this festive season, are getting in and getting online earlier.

Over 1 million new Australian households have shopped online since March of this year.  Data from The Australian Pulse shows that almost two-fifths (38%) of Australians have purchased retail products (e.g. grocery shopping) online in the past 3 months.  A similar proportion (36%) have purchased books and music, with a third (33%) purchasing food & wine.  Other popular categories include beauty and fashion (32%), DIY (27%) and technology (27%).

Retailer websites (e.g. Woolworths, Bunnings) with 60% are the most used online purchase platforms, followed by the likes of eBay (38%) and Amazon (23%).  

Not long ago, a transition from in-store to online would have been a significant challenge for a brand or retailer.  However, these days consumers are much more digitally savvy.  Our research finds that 61% of Australians consider themselves to be confident online shoppers, with even as many as 43% of the Silent Generation (those aged 75 years and older) being confident.  There are certainly still challenges, however, they are not insurmountable, and a significant proportion of the market is shifting to the online space and expect to see their retailers and brands there with bells on. 


Naturally, online channels are also being heavily used to help inform purchase decisions, with Google searches (57%), retailer/brand websites (45%) and email promotions and offers (26%) being among the most used.  Consumer/product review websites (25%) and comparison websites (21%) are also being increasingly relied upon.

By using consumer profiling that draws on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) insights, unique data from The Australian Pulse, shows that more strongly goal-oriented (what we call ‘towards’) consumers are more likely to be drawn to a brand/retailers website to help inform their purchase decisions – driven by the perceived value of the product or service features.  In contrast to those consumers, those who with a more ‘away’ thinking style are more likely to visit comparison or consumer review websites (in order to allay any fears that they may have about the product or service).  

This NLP profiling enables us to see a myriad of patterns in how consumers engage and respond to communications, including for example, that those with a preference for options (as opposed to consumers who tend to prefer procedures with clearly defined steps) are more likely to engage with email promotions and offers.  This is very useful information in terms of what to email in terms of content and framing.  

It’s clearly a critical time for brands to create digital inspiration to reach shoppers early to avoid lost sales with the higher incidence of on-line purchases. Brands need to create seamless online shopping experiences to maximise customer loyalty among customers who are making the transition from in-store to online and prevent competitors from capturing customers in this transitory period. 

For further information on this such as our NLP Consumer Profiling or other extensive insights from our Australian Pulse research please contact us.

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