Online shopping

Australian shoppers increasingly prefer online shopping for retail experience

Physical retail stores have rebounded from the impact of COVID-19, with recent figures indicating that online retail accounted for just 10% of retail spending in May.

As online sales remain strong, customers are drawn to the in-person shopping experience.

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for May 2022 highlights a steady decline in online retail turnover, with digital clicks now at just 10.68%, far less than the initial jump in the COVID-19 at 24% in April 2020.

According to Ray White Commercial, Research Manager, Vanessa Rader, large malls have seen a shift in emphasis towards food and entertainment as department stores reduce their footprint and focus on convenience.

“Savvy retailers have used their physical stores to deliver an immersive experience that translates to online sales, still capturing the sale but in a different format,” Ms. Rader said.

“While for some there is still uncertainty around physical storefronts, they are certainly not dead.

“Continued retail mix shift is inevitable, adaptive reuse for some vacancies and moderating returns for owners are likely, however, the declining proportion of online retail sales continues to indicate our desire to be in-store, which is good news for the future of retail.

It’s not just retail stores experiencing a Covid rebound, a recent string of hotels and pubs are selling out in NSW – some of which are well-known community drinking establishments.

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Specialist estate agency HTL Property has overseen a number of sales, many of which have not been made available to the market for over a decade.

During June the company sold the Port Macquarie Hotel to an established hotelier, sold the Beaches Hotel in Merewether for a record price, the Caves Beach Hotel, the Beaufort Hotel and most recently the Manning River Hotel in Taree NSW .

This does not include similar sub-metro assets which have recently been sold including Kelso, Thomas Blamey and the Victoria Hotel in Wagga Wagga and the sale of North Nowra Tavern.

HTL Property’s Asia Pacific director Andrew Jolliffe said the value proposition for pubs remained strong, primarily due to the ability to pass on costs and the flexibility to add alternative uses.

“I think what the restrictions on travel and movement of people imposed by COVID-19 have exposed is people’s desire to spend more with less; and prioritizing social interaction and experiences over more material things,” Jolliffe said.

“To this end, hospitality businesses have found themselves in an ideal situation, and as a result, revenues from all typical profit centers have been amplified.”

“Domestic tourism has seen a significant increase in footfall in sub-metro areas; and this has resulted in a combination of both greater investor awareness for these target areas and business models guaranteed by significantly increased footfall.
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Originally published as Australian shoppers increasingly prefer online shopping for retail experience