Two women with shopping bags holding up a "I Love Buying Local" sign in front of a store.

Almost half of Australian shoppers (49%) are more likely to support local businesses during the global pandemic, according to new research from performance marketing, media and consumer insights leader, Rakuten Advertising.

Homegrown brands that promote themselves as uniquely Australian, are more likely to win the hearts of local consumers. Those who choose to shop internationally are instead motivated by lower prices and better bargains.

The research, The Road to Recovery: 2020 E-commerce in Asia-Pacific’ which surveyed over 5,000 people from across the Asia-Pacific region, also reported that 73% of Australians want brands to communicate with compassion and empathy and 71% want businesses to include information on how they plan to continue operations.

The availability of vouchers and promotions make less of an impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions. Instead, Australians are more inclined to purchase from brands that maintain regular communication with consumers, promote a wide variety of products, and offer ‘cashback’ and ‘rewards’ options.

Rakuten Advertising senior vice president of Asia-Pacific, Stuart McLennan, commented on how retailers can identify the opportunities to enable them to ride out the challenges brought about as a result of COVID-19.

“Australians are a resilient, empathetic bunch, and while the pandemic has resulted in locals being confined to their homes, these consumers are actively supporting local businesses in a bid to do their part for the economy,” he said.

The opportunity of shopping online from home has resulted in more people discovering new brands, with 67% of Australians using search engines to find new retailers. However, Australians do not rely on social media to discover new brands, and content creators are not an important decision-making factor, with only 8% of Australian consumers finding new retailers through bloggers and influencers.

Additionally, 31% of Australians are more likely to choose email as the preferred channel to engage with brands, which is relatively high compared to the rest of Asia Pacific.

“Retailers and brands whose businesses may have taken a hit, would be able to cope with these challenges better by complementing their online presence with a low risk, performance-based digital strategy,” McLennan added.

“Activating a tailored, multi-channel digital program inclusive of affiliate and paid search can help brands reach more customers through channels Australians prefer to engage with. Furthermore, understanding the behaviour of Australian shoppers and communicating with the right tone and message will be key to success.”