Marketers will need to shift gears into 2022 to ensure they provide satisfying omnichannel shopping experiences amid escalating consumer expectations, according to new research released by IAB Australia and Pureprofile.

The Australian Ecommerce Report 2021 found that while convenience was named as the biggest driver of online shopping by 76% of consumers and one that was worth paying a premium for, it’s no longer a strong differentiator for brands to simply be online and offer choice. 

The Report also flagged that local, sustainable and ethical brands as the biggest winners in the year ahead, particularly for direct-to-consumer brand shoppers.

While most shoppers during COVID in 2020 were not new to online shopping, the vast majority (84%) of those who increased their online shopping have sustained this increase or purchased even more frequently so far in 2021. In June this year, 76% of online shoppers indicated they were buying online at least once a month.

Online search was identified as the most popular source by consumer for inspiration and discovering brands when buying something online, while social played a significant role for millennial shoppers, with half indicating social media is now an important part of how they find products to buy. 

Retailer marketing channels were also found to play an important role in communicating to online shoppers with 59% often reading content produced and distributed by retailers via retailer websites, emails, and catalogues.

“It is no surprise that the pandemic has changed retail habits and sped up the adoption of ecommerce for brands and consumers, but we felt it was important to not only provide the market with industry data but to explore drivers for brand selection, sources for inspiration and discovery,” IAB Australia CEO, Gai Le Roy said.

“For a nation that has been in lockdown for most of the last 12 months, it seems like many of us have made comfortable additions to our wardrobe with clothing being the number one shopping category with 72% of online shoppers making a clothing purchase online over the last year.”

Pureprofile CEO, Martin Filz added, “The great migration to online retail has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this research suggests an evolution in how consumers are finding and connecting with brands.

“In an increasingly saturated online retail marketplace, consumers are seeking recommendations through search and social, looking for easily contactable customer service, and placing a premium on fast local delivery. To thrive in this new environment, marketers must adapt and upgrade the buyer journey to reflect these new shopper expectations and behaviours.”