As Victoria and New South Wales were once again plunged into lengthy lockdowns, new patterns of consumer spending have re-emerged. Consumer spending on electronics is up by 150 percent. Consumer spending on food delivery remained stable throughout the time period between lockdowns and has increased by 200 percent in 2021. Consumers spent even more on online gambling in 2021 than they did in the previous year; 329 percent in 2021 compared to a 215 percent increase in 2020.
Two areas of heightened consumer spending in 2020 - home office furniture and homewares, have decreased in the 2021 lockdown periods. This is not surprising, given that these items are generally ‘one-off’ purchases that have longevity, with home office set-ups being completed last year.
Equally unsurprising is the continued trend of having food home delivered. Many food businesses have had to rethink their business model by offering takeaway and home delivery services to remain viable in this new economic environment.
Consumers are now enjoying the ongoing option of having their meals delivered, especially now many people are working from home. Cafes, restaurants, bars, and major takeaway outlets have taken advantage of the opportunity to continue catering to this need, now that consumers have a taste for the convenience of it, even if not locked down.
Spending on online gambling has increased this year too. Simon Bligh, chief executive of illion, believes that the online gambling trend of 2021 is not surprising given that much of the money that consumers would have previously spent on going out is now still in their pockets. Melbourne and Sydney are cities where people simply have nowhere to go to spend their entertainment dollars.
Increased spending on at-home entertainment, such as online gambling and electronics, has come at a cost for the entertainment sector which has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. Other hard-hit sectors include recreation and fitness, with gyms closing their doors and travel restrictions prohibiting recreational activities.
Increases in online spending show a shift in consumer spending overall, says Andrew Charlton, managing director of Accenture. These habits are predicted to remain in place even after Australians move out of the lockdown phase of the pandemic now that we have an appreciation of the convenience of purchasing goods and services online.
This change in consumer demand poses new opportunities for those that own convenience stores, or online stores that offer different goods and services. Likewise, enjoying the convenience of home-delivery services is likely to change, so this is an advantageous time to buy into sectors that provide convenience for consumers.