A study by real-time consumer insights firm Toluna has found the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital adoption amongst consumers with 62 per cent saying they now use cards to pay for everything where possible.
As retailers shuttered their doors, bank branches closed, and social distancing encouraged online grocery purchases, many consumers made their first online purchases. And while online shopping and digital streaming services are up, many shoppers still prefer to go in-store for key personal items.
Banking & payments
With cash payments now frowned upon for hygiene reasons, it seems the majority of Australians prefer digital or card payments. According to the survey, 62 per cent of respondents now use digital or card payments for every purchase, where possible.
Other digital payment options are also on the rise:
- 60 per cent said they’re now very comfortable managing their financial services online,
- With 59 per cent stating that now they’re used to managing their financial services online, they’re happy to continue doing this moving forward
- 38 per cent are happy to get advice from financial institutions either online or via video
- And 50 per cent would now like to see more innovation from financial institutions in terms of what kinds of services they offer
- Finally, 61 per cent believe financial institutions should continue offering the same level of flexibility post-pandemic as they have done throughout the crisis
Despite the recent spike in online sales, a higher percentage of respondents still prefer to shop in store:
- 46 per cent would much rather buy their personal care and toiletries in store (vs 11 per cent who would prefer to buy these online. The rest were somewhere in between)
- 57 per cent would much prefer grocery shopping in store to online (vs eight per cent who prefer online)
- 39 per cent would strongly prefer to buy clothes in store (vs 11 per cent who prefer online clothes shopping)
- 40 per cent have a strong preference purchasing cosmetics and other beauty products in store (vs 14 per cent who prefer online)
- 32 per cent would rather buy tech items in store (vs 15 per cent who have a strong preference for online)
Working from home
Although many expect a rise in remote working, 43 per cent of respondents stated they would be happy to, and even want to, return to their workplaces. Some 11 per cent said they want to return but don’t feel it’s safe yet. Only 13 per cent stated they didn’t want to return at all.
Even fitness has gone online, with 12 per cent having taken part in free online or virtual fitness routines, and 6% having subscribed to paid fitness routines. With gyms having been closed on and tight restrictions, 25 per cent have moved their exercise outdoors and nine per cent have bought or hired home exercise equipment. Only 19 per cent said they’d let their fitness routines slip completely.
Compared with an earlier barometer in mid June, a greater number of Australians are (unsurprisingly) concerned about a second wave of COVID-19. In June, 49 per cent of respondents were more worried about a second wave than the economic downturn, compared to 42 per cent who were more worried about the economy.
Now, as Victoria’s numbers continue to spike, 56 per cent of Australians are more concerned about a second wave than the downturn, verus 38 per cnet who are more worried about the economy.
If lockdowns were placed across Australia once again, nearly half (44.7 per cent) of respondents would be ok to stay home for longer than 12 weeks. Some 11.37 per cent for 9-12 weeks; 26 per cent for 5-8 weeks, and 11.85 per cent could only manage if it was less than four weeks. Only six per cent of respondents would not be able to cope with lockdowns being reimposed.
Commenting on the findings, Stephen Walker, business sirector, Toluna, Australia & New Zealand, said: “Australians have been forced to drastically change the way they bank and shop during the crisis, highlighting the necessity of real time insights.
“Although we expect to see a continued change in consumer habits, it’s encouraging for retailers to see many shoppers will still continue to come in store, when safe to do so. With many consumers preferring the convenience of digital payments, both retailers and financial institutions must closely monitor evolving consumer perceptions and habits and adjust their services accordingly to ensure shoppers have access to a number of payment options at their fingertips,” Walker said.
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