With inflation and cost-of-living pressures, it’s no surprise that budgets are tightening. In fact, three quarters (76%) of consumers are now likely to avoid major purchases such as high-value goods, luxury products, and expensive electronics in the next six months, according to new research from ecommerce experience platform, preezie.

Despite this pull back on big purchases, preezie’s research also revealed that Australian shoppers are still actively and consistently spending online. The data shows that three in four (75%) of Australian consumers have either maintained or increased their online shopping spend compared to six months ago. Similarly, nearly 64% anticipate maintaining or increasing their online shopping spend in the next six months.

The findings in preezie’s new ‘Inside the mind of the 2023 online shopper’ report indicate that a significant portion of the population has ramped up their online spending habits in the last six months – but with big ticket items out of the question, consumers are putting their money towards more affordable luxuries or small indulgences.

preezie co-founder and CEO, Michael Tutek said, “Despite consumer reluctance to splurge during economic downturns, some premium brands still manage to defy the odds. This can be attributed to the ‘lipstick effect’, which suggests that individuals seek out affordable luxuries as a means to uplift their spirits and maintain a sense of normalcy. By indulging in these lower-cost treats, consumers can experience a hit of luxury without straining their budgets.”

He added: “On top of this, our research suggests that online spending is still going strong, even when living costs are rising. This could be attributed to various factors, such as an increased reliance on ecommerce due to convenience, changing shopping preferences, or the influence of external factors like the pandemic that are still lingering. This data suggests a growth opportunity for the ecommerce industry, as it reflects an increase in consumer demand and engagement with online channels.”

While consumers are consistently and increasingly shopping online, there have been significant changes to the way they shop and the customer experience they expect. Overall, consumers are demanding more unique, personalised shopping experiences, with 78% of Australian shoppers finding it appealing to receive an experience tailored to their needs including variables such as budgets, hair types, individual fashion styles, and even outfit occasions.

More than three-quarters (79%) of respondents also find it appealing to receive offers, discounts, and limited-edition products or services from online retailers, with 68% more likely to shop regularly with brands that offer shopper incentives like free gifts and free shipping.

“This customer desire for a unique and personalised online shopping experience has been a growing trend in the past few years, but now it’s a deal breaker for brands that don’t offer it. To achieve a truly personal experience, retailers need to be engaging with customers on all fronts,” Tutek said.

“While retailers can harness the customer information they have at their disposal to tailor a customer’s shopping journey from website to checkout, something that is often overlooked is customer engagement post-purchase.

“The journey doesn’t just end at the checkout. To achieve true customer loyalty, retailers need to implement strategies to continue engaging with customers after the sale, like order follow-ups, exclusive loyalty programs, and special offers from affiliate brand partners.”