While COVID-19 has been a catalyst for change, it has solidified preferences for certain activities, including shopping in-store. Australians have the strongest desire to shop in-store (72%) compared to their American and British counterparts, 62% and 50% respectively, new independent research conducted by Opinium Research and commissioned by global payments platform, Adyen has revealed.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Australians are also looking forward to shopping in-store for pleasure again, well ahead of the global average of 55%.

Adyen country manager for Australia and New Zealand Michel van Aalten said Australia’s love for shopping has grown dramatically during 2020.

“Last year, research undertaken by 451 Research showed 50% of Australians liked shopping in-store. To see that grow 22% in one year and outstrip our international counterparts is a positive indicator for bricks and mortar retailers.”

However, with the pandemic driving consumers online, particularly in lockdown, Adyen’s research suggests that consumers have been won over by the channel’s convenience.

More than a quarter (27%) of Australians said they shopped more online during the pandemic than they did previously – although less than our global counterparts in the US (36%) and UK (33%). One-third (33%) of Australians will also shop online more often now than before. This skews by age, with 46% of 18 to 34-year olds planning to embrace this habit, compared to 38% of 35 to 54-year olds, and 17% of those aged 55 and older. The appeal of online shopping is far-reaching, with 28% of those who prefer to shop in-store acknowledging they will also shop online more.

Another key finding from the research is that Australians don’t tolerate bad experiences – 72% won’t return to a retailer if they’ve had a bad experience, either in-store or online. But they do reward those who help them out with the vast majority (78%) saying they will continue to support the retailers they relied on during the pandemic.

Further, one-quarter of Australian consumers now less likely to shop in-store because of their positive online experience during the pandemic. This is stronger among female respondents (28%) compared to males (22%) and among younger shoppers aged 18 to 34 (41%), compared to 35 to 54-year olds (29%) or those aged 55 and over (10%).

Businesses that consistently performed the best throughout the pandemic were those that combined their physical and digital worlds to create a fluid, channel-agnostic experience. Adyen’s data has revealed unified commerce to be a critical in driving success, helping businesses stabilise sales by offsetting lost in-store transactions with an increase in ecommerce.

“COVID-19 has shaken Australia’s retail sector to its core. Consumers have prioritised shopping closer to home with those businesses which provide a better experience, or that can be trusted to stock certain goods. Many retailers have impressed Aussies by adapting their operations and offering shoppers more flexibility across this period. Consumers want to see this agility continue and are looking for seamlessness between online and offline stores. Unified commerce will help retailers navigate this changing environment and excel in this next normal,” van Aalten said.