More than three-quarters (78%) of consumers are prioritising value for money when shopping, as Australians are almost twice as likely to be stressed about higher prices of groceries and essentials than they are about the cost of housing, new research from Shopify has revealed.

The Shopify Australian Retail Report, conducted in partnership with YouGov, unpacks how Australian consumers’ priorities, financial stressors, and purchase behaviours have evolved amid the current economic conditions.

“We’ve seen an onslaught of successive macro-level events impact so much of our lives from the prioritisation of health post-pandemic to the fact that millions of Australian homeowners have faced not only their first but their 12th interest rate rise in the past year. It would be remiss to expect consumer priorities and behaviours to remain unchanged from 2019 or before,” Shopify director of technology services and enterprise for APAC, James Johnson said.

“But what we’re seeing is that while, across the board, Australians share some common priorities and challenges, when you dive deeper into the data you find that there are clusters of customers where these diverge.” 

The report revealed six new consumer personas which represent these clusters, grouped by behavioural factors, and analysed each cohort’s financial stressors and outlook, purchase intentions, major life priorities, and shopping expectations.

  • The Value Valuer – they define value as ‘quality that lasts’, and prioritises product quality over brand. Least likely to be influenced by a celebrity or social media, this is the largest group, representing almost one-third (32%) of all consumers surveyed.
  • The Loyal Local – they also value quality over brand and price, and are likely to switch brands to support local or more sustainable businesses. The most likely to switch to public transport to save money, this is the second largest group, representing 24% of Australians.
  • The Savings Seeker – they are the most stressed consumers overall and are the most price-sensitive of all groupings. By far the most likely to switch to private label brands, this persona represents some 22% of consumers.
  • The Mindful Moneybags – the wealthiest and most environmentally conscious cohort, these shoppers have not felt enough of an impact to change their shopping habits and represent up 10% of Australian consumers. 
  • The Picky Purchaser – the second highest-earning shoppers, this cohort has the highest expectations when it comes to the shopping experience. They are the most brand loyal by a considerable margin, and comprise 8% of Australians.
  • The Social Shopper – the most likely to shop online and the most influenced by influencers, this cohort is named after its members’ penchant for digital interaction. They prioritise speed in the purchase experience but are the least demanding overall and make up just 3% of consumers. 

In addition, the majority (57%) of Australian consumers are optimistic about their personal situations but there is a split on the economy as a whole with 48% optimistic and 45% pessimistic.