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Despite the e-commerce boom, Australians prefer in-store shopping more than any other country

Consumer’s behavior constantly changing, and while you might think e-commerce is the dominant shopping choice, new research shows Aussies still prefer to shop in-store.

Over the past two years, the Australian retail sector has faced ongoing challenges, forcing retailers to pivot quickly and focus on innovation to survive. Retailers that have scaled up operations to navigate the enforcement of lockdowns, state border closures and trade restrictions have become more resilient and capable in the face of changing consumer behaviors.

A new independent study commissioned by financial technology platform Adyen has identified the changing expectations of Australian consumers and key retail trends impacting the retail industry, including insights that will help retailers shape, grow and achieve their ambitions for 2023 and beyond.

The Adyen Australia 2022 Retail report presents the results of a survey of over 50,000 respondents (consumers and businesses) in 26 countries, including 2,000 Australian adults and 502 Australian businesses. The report highlights key shopping and payment trends, as well as the importance of unified commerce in ensuring the resilience and adaptability of the retail industry in 2022 and beyond.


Fast facts:

  • 73% of Australians surveyed prefer to shop in-store, compared to a global average of 59%.
  • (67%) say brick-and-mortar stores are an important touchpoint, even if they buy online from the same retailer.
  • 56% of shoppers would be more loyal to retailers with endless aisles; yet only 28% of businesses allow customers to make purchases and transact across online and offline channels
  • 51% of consumers are more loyal to merchants who have physical stores and online choice
  • 28% of Australian businesses currently allow customers to shop and transact across online and offline channels.
  • 63% of businesses with unified commerce increased revenue by 20% or more in 2021

“For Australian consumers, it’s all about the experience. In the past five years alone, we’ve seen consumer preference for shopping channels and payment methods shift from one to the other, but there are two things that remain constant: is the reign of seamless experiences with cashless as king. Retailers who understand and adapt to this, regardless of platform or payment method, will be well positioned to take on the next wave of retail innovation,” said Hayley Fisher, Country Director for Australia and New Zealand with Adyen.

Australia decides: shopping in-store or online

As Australians have become more tech-savvy, consumers still prefer to shop in a physical store rather than online, with 73% of respondents choosing to shop in a physical store, up 14% than any other country surveyed. Since the pandemic and the ongoing shutdowns, 34% of consumers say they have a new appreciation for being able to physically touch, smell or try on products in-store before buying them.

Although consumers continue to embrace e-commerce and shopping online, more than two-thirds of consumers (67%) say physical stores are an important touchpoint, even if they buy online from the same retailer . 48% say they like going to the store for customer service or to get help with a product they couldn’t get online and 51% are more loyal to retailers that have physical stores and online options.

Unified commerce is a billion dollar opportunity

More than two decades after the emergence of e-commerce, the pace of digital retail evolution continues to accelerate. As data and analytics grow, so do the opportunities for retailers to extract value through innovative products and services. There is a direct relationship between a retailer’s use of technology and their success, with Adyen’s research showing that 63% of retailers who deployed unified commerce grew by 20% or more.

According to the research, the key to realizing Australia’s retail ambitions is investing in the digital tools that will improve operations and attract customers at the same time. The pandemic has proven that consumers want businesses to embrace technology that will improve their in-store experience, including loyalty programs.

More than half of Australian consumers (58%) believe retailers should use technology to make their loyalty and rewards program simpler and more effective. 50% of consumers said they would be more likely to shop at a retailer if their loyalty program worked automatically through their payment card, but only a handful of retailers are using this innovation.

With a majority of Australians preferring to shop in physical stores, retailers that offer unique in-store experiences are highly valued. In fact, the majority of Australians say they are more loyal to retailers that have physical stores and online options. Most Australians (53%) would be more loyal to businesses that allow them to buy items online and return them in store or let them buy an item that is out of stock in store but available online and return it. have it sent directly to their home (56%).

Experience is essential

Experience matters to Australians, with shoppers citing an appreciation for retailers that provide a seamless shopping experience across all touchpoints. As shoppers continue to prioritize the in-store experience, retailers need to mimic physical store experiences online as much as possible to show they understand their customers’ preferences.

The report also highlights Australians’ low tolerance for bad shopping experiences. 66% of Australians said they would avoid shopping with businesses after a bad shopping experience (whether online or in-store) and 54% of Australians want retailers to be able to sell across multiple channels. Australian retailers are also aware of these heightened consumer expectations, with 56% of businesses surveyed in Australia acknowledging that their customers are less tolerant of bad experiences.

“While Australians have quickly embraced e-commerce during the pandemic, it hasn’t diminished their love of in-store shopping,” said Hayley Fisher. On the contrary, Australians now expect retailers to offer the best of both worlds. To continue to remain nimble and competitive, retailers must strive to meet these consumer expectations, delivering exceptional customer experiences both in-store and online through unified commerce.

For more insights and information on the Adyen Australia 2022 Retail Report, download the report here.