Online retail sales in Australia have grown significantly since the outbreak of COVID-19, much like the rest of the world. Following lockdown periods that closed or restricted access to brick-and-mortar retail outlets, many Australians were forced to turn to online shopping for not only discretionary items but also necessities like groceries and personal hygiene products. This boost in online customers saw online retail sales turnover take more than a 15 percent share of the retail market by September 2021.

Australians are warming up to online marketplaces

eBay has been a fixture of the Australian online retail landscape for some time. Amazon, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer on the domestic market, with the Amazon.com.au platform first introduced in 2017 . Amazon has been largely welcomed by consumers for its role in expanding the domestic online marketplace and has since been joined by the likes of MyDeal.com.au, The Iconic, and Catch.com.au . However, Australians still seem to have more confidence in online stores that also have a physical shopfront like Bunnings, Target, and Kmart. These mass merchant retail businesses have been well-positioned to accept and deliver online sales during lockdown periods, with most observing an increase in online retail revenue in 2020 and 2021. For C2C sales Gumtree, MyDeal, and Etsy are popular alternatives to eBay for those who want to start their own side hustle or sell unwanted goods. The Australian-owned MyDeal went public on the ASX in 2020 and has more than doubled its userbase year on year since 2019. Between Gumtree and MyDeal.com.au the majority of items being bought and sold were homewares and furniture , making up around half of both platforms’ trade. Australians are also active sellers on Etsy , after the U.S. and Canada, Australians are the third-largest group of sellers on the platform alongside Germany.

The holiday shopping frenzy

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday sales have gained significant popularity worldwide, and Australia is no different. Generation Y and Z Australians have particularly embraced the U.S. shopping tradition , with the majority of shoppers expecting to snap up discounts of anywhere between 10 and 50 percent on the original price. On top of the Cyber 5 sales, the impending arrival of Christmas also contributes to the jump in online retails sales experienced in November and December each year. In a survey on Christmas shopping expectations in 2021, the average expected online spend on Christmas gifts was anticipated to be upwards of 700 Australian dollars per shopper in that year.

To pay for all this online shopping, PayPal is the most popular digital payment method with microfinancing apps like Afterpay seeing some use by shoppers. However, bank-issued debit and credit cards are still more commonly used by about half of all online shoppers.


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