Nearly 60% of Australian shoppers are more likely to purchase and collect goods without human interaction, such as online ordering for contactless click and collect, compared with before Covid-19, new research from Manhattan Associates has revealed.

Of those respondents who desired contactless shopping, 57% were likely to buy online for home delivery, 18% would buy online and collect from a contactless parcel collection point, while 7% of people would buy online for contactless curb-side pick-up.

The research also found that only 28% of shoppers desired the same level of direct human interaction when shopping as they did prior to Covid-19.

The research shows that Australian consumers’ shopping habits have fundamentally changed following the arrival of Covid-19, Manhattan Associates managing director, Raghav Sibal said.

“They want less direct human interaction and more flexibility in the way that they shop, collect or receive their goods, that is much more varied than traditional models of in-store purchasing.

“This shift in buyer behaviour can be attributed to not only perceived health concerns, but also a positive customer experience of the increased flexibility that retailers have offered shoppers in 2020. The findings have significant implications for local retailers who must offer greater flexibility to meet varied consumer preferences.”

In addition to desiring less human contact, shoppers also indicated that they were more likely to participate in sales campaigns with 71% of people saying that they are now more likely to purchase goods from events like Boxing Day and Click Frenzy.

Consumers that are looking to purchase from a sales event in the future are mainly doing so because they have less money to spend on essential goods (32%), or are looking for a bargain (38%), while only 11% of people will be participating in a sales event to make an indulgent, or luxury purchase. Shoppers also indicated that they were most likely to purchase clothing (70%), followed by electronic equipment and household goods (44%), such as refrigerators, in any sales.

“Given the financial impact that the pandemic has had on many Australians, it is not unexpected that they would turn to sales events to make their finances stretch further,” Sibal said.

“Retailers need to be prepared for spikes in sales activity around these events and take control of their inventory, with real time visibility of stock, whether it is in the warehouse, in-store or being transported. By knowing what goods they have, and what they may need to build stock up on for future sales events, retailers can position themselves to take advantage of sales and offer the best possible customer experience.”