The Impact of Coronavirus on Retailing in Australia

June 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced Australia’s government to enforce lockdown restrictions, which negatively impacted business and consumer confidence and supply chains. While the grocery sector and e-commerce experienced rapid increased in demand for products as panic buying escalated across the country, others have suffered a sharp decline. As the pandemic continues to unfold, retailers need to be prepared for long-lasting changes in consumer behaviour and shopping habits.

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Key takeaways

Retail is a cut-throat industry and especially during and after this pandemic, retailers must constantly redevelop and reinvent their brand, e-commerce and in-store strategies if they are to have any chance of competing in a dynamic and hypercompetitive retail environment.

Uncertainty dampens both business and consumer confidence. This lowering of confidence can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, with Australians and business deferring spending and investment.

Environmental concerns have taken a temporary backseat as health and hygiene are the main concerns during the pandemic. However, this does not mean an end to sustainability and there is likely to be a stronger and renewed interest among Australians in protecting the environment by shopping in a more sustainable manner.

The COVID-19 pandemic will bring about lasting changes in consumer attitudes and behaviour. Australians that previously preferred to pay in cash and reluctant to engage in e-commerce are increasingly likely to embrace these new payment trends.

E-commerce is flourishing in Australia but there are still questions to be answered and hurdles to be overcome if consumers will alter their shopping habits in the longer term.



COVID-19 strikes economies differently than the 2008 financial crisis

Economic Outlook

Global economy will contract sharply in 2020
COVID-19 in Australia
Three scenarios examine the impact of a more severe outbreak
In our baseline view, the pandemic peaks in June 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic impacts both supply and demand in Australia
Euromonitor’s COVID-19 scenarios in Australia over 2019-2025 (1)
Euromonitor’s COVID-19 scenarios in Australia over 2019-2025 (2)

Retailing - Short-Term Impacts

Digital engagement with customers becomes main strategy
Increased proximity payments
Logistics disruption
Commercial rent battles

Retailing - Long-Term Impacts

Catalyst for the decline of physical stores?
Is environmental sustainability no longer a long-term concern?
Behavioural changes in the grocery sector

Retailing - Summary and Developments

Importance of fulfilment and last-mile delivery
Revitalising e-commerce strategies
Support local
Key takeaways


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