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    Buying patterns and outlook as recovery phase begins

    Over the last couple of weeks, COVID-19 restrictions have begun to loosen with the country entering its ‘recovery’ phase. This is a signal for businesses to start looking forward, and to analyse what their next steps are going to be.

    “As the country enters the recovery phase, there is cautious optimism that once Australians return to work and stay-at-home restrictions are eased, more regular shopping habits will resume,” says General Manager of Consumer Research, Innovation & Partnership at GfK, Rob Highett-Smith.

    “It is likely consumers will be more prudent and less disposed to spending in some categories for another six to 12 months as a vaccine is being developed.”

    GfK recently conducted the Consumer Pulse study to help businesses move forward with understanding and direction.

    The report’s findings showed that 84% of Australians were highly concerned about the potential economic crisis, followed by unemployment (80%), and COVID-19 (79%).

    Trusted information sources

    Australians confirmed the most credible sources as:

    • Doctors/researchers- 45%
    • The Department of Health- 44%
    • The Government- 42%

    Most Australians think the country’s economic situation has deteriorated in comparison to last year and expect that things will become worse. Many Australians have started to consciously adopt more responsible behaviours, having significantly reduced their shopping, changed their use of free time and personal hygiene habits since the lockdown.

    Retail sector growth

    More than one in four respondents (28%), have experienced a stock shortage, and over a fifth (22%) of them bought brands that they usually would not.

    Categories such as household appliances and electronics surged in demand as many Australians were required to work from home.

    The following sales grew tremendously:

    • Bread makers- 647%
    • Monitors- 268%
    • Keyboards- 113%
    • On the other hand, smartphone (44%) and camera segments (60%) experienced a decline.

    Rise in media consumption 

    More time at home, means more media consumption. Over one-third (34%) claim to have watched more ads during the crisis, while half (54%) say they enjoy watching ads just as much as usual.

    Current affairs and news bulletins are now competing with drama and entertainment series for Australians’ attention, followed by video games, reading and music.

    Optimistic look for travel & tourism

    When the crisis subsides, nearly two-thirds of Australians intend to travel to places close by, favouring the use of private cars and avoiding crowded places. A quarter of Australians planning a trip for the Queen’s Birthday weekend and are planning a holiday in July.

    “As we move into this next important ‘recovery’ phase, several different scenarios are possible depending on our success in opening up the economy while continuing to supress the spread of COVID-19,” says Mr Highett-Smith.

    “In this context, understanding how consumer needs and attitudes might evolve in the short and medium terms will be fundamental to driving business growth and unlocking potential innovation opportunities.”

    Click here to view insights and trends around supply chains, point of sales, consumer behaviour and consumer sentiment under the impact of COVID-19.

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