Almost one-third (17.5%) of total retail traffic in July was towards e-commerce websites among Sydneysiders. It was the strongest month for e-commerce web traffic in 2020, increasing by 31% on March figures, according to the latest data released by Cloudflare.

For Melburnians, October was the strongest month for web traffic, accounting for 20.1% of total traffic, an increase of 46% comparted to February.

Black Friday saw the highest traffic peaks to e-commerce for Sydney and Melbourne, up 19.7% and 21.6% respectively. Despite this, traffic to e-commerce sites was down 10% in November and 13% in December, compared to October.

Sydneysiders and Melbournians are showing high levels of traffic to e-commerce websites when compared with the rest of the world. Among a list of 16 major cities in North America, Europe and Asia, Melbourne ranks second, and Sydney fourth in proportion of traffic to e-commerce websites on total Internet traffic in 2020.

Speaking to Retailbiz, Cloudflare head of Australia and New Zealand, Raymond Maisano said the biggest upward trends in ecommerce were in scale and volume with 12 months of progress taking place in a matter of weeks.

“Many of our retail customers had to react to the impact of Covid-19 quickly and bolster their ecommerce platforms as brick-and-mortar shopfronts closed,” he said.

“The pandemic forced people to transact with their key needs in different ways—from buying groceries to consumer goods and remote work setups online. This has given customers the confidence that ecommerce platforms are safe and secure, with any initial apprehension now dissipated and habits embedded in the day-to-day.”

Maisano expects Australians to continue shopping online in 2021, even as life returns to a sense of normalcy. “I suspect we will continue to see strong traffic to and uptake of ecommerce websites, but the growth rate will stabilise.”

When asked about the disparity between Australia and the rest of the world, Europe and the US in particular, Maisano said Australians digitised their everyday activities to help slow the spread.

“This, coupled with the mandated closure of most brick-and-mortar stores, meant local traffic to ecommerce websites naturally skyrocketed. Australia has proven to be quite digitally savvy, and we seemed to have the final mile with deliveries sorted.”