Skip to main content

In Marketing We Trust is taking action to support the people of Ukraine. ukraine-logo Donate Ukraine Policy

5 min read

For our TrustED Conf 2021 VR World Tour, we heard from Lisa Ffrench, Paid Media Specialist on The Explosion of Online Shopping During the Pandemic. 

Online shopping has taken off over the past 12-18 months. Will this trend continue? Are retailers keeping up with the explosion of growth?


What we’ll cover:

Shopping during the global pandemic

The WHO identified COVID-19 as an international health emergency on 30 January 2020.

signage of Shopping during the global pandemic

In March 2020, nationwide (Aus) regulations were introduced to encourage physical distancing. This impacted the ability of businesses to trade as normal.

The global pandemic has upended the way we live, work and shop.

Online shopping in 2020/2021

  • Money saved on the usual travel, dining out, concerts etc.
  • UK and US also experienced high levels of online sales with 94% and 84%, respectively, having made an online purchase in the last three months
  • People turned to ‘retail therapy’ during the pandemic, to ‘feel better’ during uncertain times
  • Clothing, footwear and accessories & grocery products now more popular online
  • Growth in the industry accelerated by 4 to 6 years

Online retail results

Online retail results of online shopping during the pandemic

  • AU: Huge growth 
  • Dip in Dec-March 2021 when lockdowns were over (for a period of time)

Online retail: Australia

Total online retailing sales in Sept 2021 equalled $4.3b.n This was the highest level for the monthly online retail sales in history, exceeding August’s record result.

15% of all retail sales in September in Australia were online. 3.4% ($143m) rise in September added to the double-digit growth seen over each of the last three months.

But … people (and the economy) still need physical stores

Despite the growth in online: Australian retail sales volumes fell a record 4.4 per cent in the September quarter 2021.

“Protracted lockdowns … many retailers closed…. resulted in the largest quarterly fall in national sales volumes ever recorded.”

‘Bricks and mortar’ retail will continue with online shopping during the pandemic

Once people could ‘hit the shops’, Australians splurged an extra $1bn in the first week of November compared to the same time in 2019.

How will this translate to Christmas and beyond?

50% of shoppers expect to use physical stores as their main channel for non-grocery retail purchases in the future (down from 68 per cent prior to COVID-19). The other 50% expect to use online as their main channel (up from 32 per cent prior to COVID-19).

Despite the lockdowns, consumer optimism continues to look strong.

Christmas & new consumer behaviours

New consumer behaviours are challenging brands to rethink their standard strategies.

Black Fri-Yay campaign as new consumer behaviour from online shopping during the pandemic

Christmas Naughty or Nice as new consumer behaviour from online shopping during the pandemic

Special online sale as new consumer behaviour from online shopping during the pandemic

Cyber Monday as new consumer behaviour from online shopping during the pandemic

How to position your ecomm store for success

Ecomm advertising tips

  • First-party data is crucial (CRM, subscription-based emails; customer surveys; purchase history; loyalty programs)
  • Look at your competitor’s sites
  • Optimise on-page descriptions, headers, keywords, images, alt text
  • Make the checkout process as easy as possible
  • Tailor your ad creative to different audiences 
  • Utilise path to conversion insights
  • Test ad copies & deals on your advertising platforms
  • Focus on higher conv value products 
  • Work on increasing AOV and lifetime value of your existing customers
  • Use Smart Shopping + Local campaigns for maximum success 


  • Shipping-related promotions are amongst the most important promotions when deciding to make an online shipping as insights on online shopping during the pandemic
  • Free, over fast shipping is preferred by consumers

free delivery as insights on online shopping during the pandemic

Make offers

Create a sense of urgency by making offers on online shopping during the pandemic

Create a sense of urgency.

Take on board customer feedback 

Use customer feedback for future sales on online shopping during the pandemic

Use their data to let them know of future sales.

Analyse checkout funnels

Analyse customer journey funnels on online shopping during the pandemic

There are always opportunities to improve the customer journey.

Final words

  • Ecommerce has exploded – this will continue well into the post-pandemic future
  • Retailers have to keep up & adapt
  • ‘Bricks and mortar’ retail will continue into the future
  • Collect and study customer data/feedback/surveys
  • Businesses need to offer transparency, flexible policies and convenient omnichannel solutions for shoppers
  • Big retailers will need to find creative ways to merge online and offline shopping
Kirsten Tanner

Kirsten Tanner

Editor in Chief at In Marketing We Trust. Passionate about content marketing and dogs. Loves creating long-form, evergreen and 10x content. Is mentioned in Guy Kawasaki's latest book.

Leave a Reply