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Spending on comfortwear grows as lockdown continues

E-commerce spending saw a 93 per cent increase over the last week alone as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions press on, with retailers seeing a spike in spending on comfortwear along with groceries and home goods.

Colin Barnard, commercial director at Criteo ANZ, said spikes in spending across health, home goods and groceries and even alcohol weren’t too surprising.

But retailers posting increases on sales on categories like sleepwear and loungewear since mid-March, with the scale of sales within short time periods, were shocking.

According to a survey conducted by global technology company Criteo, spending on sleepwear and loungewear rose 224 per cent in early April as the rise of video conferencing made casual apparel the go-to choice in a work-from-home environment.

The latest survey, which analysed over 14 million online shopping transactions from 224 Australian retailers since the beginning of 2020, also saw a 438 per cent rise in webcam sales.

Animal and pet supplies have skyrocketed with cat supplies increasing 223 per cent in mid-March alone. Arts and entertainment goods rose with musical instruments increasing 234 per cent in early April.

Sporting goods rose in a matter of days, the survey revealed, as gym junkies found alternatives outside of closed gyms. Weightlifting equipment increased by 1,663 per cent in late March alone.

According to Barnard, many traditional revenue-generating activities are changing and the faster businesses adapt to new consumer habits the better they can serve their customers’ needs.

Barnard said social distancing has created a new normal. The more time consumers spend at home, the more consumers are starting to think about the things that matter each day: working remotely, learning remotely, exercising at home, cooking, entertaining the kids and spending time with the family.

“The new social distancing economy sees people spending more on products that are less essential and more quality-of-life oriented,” he said.

“People are getting used to being at home more, and they are adapting to living almost entirely indoors. Consumers are coming to terms with the knowledge that this state of being may last a while, and they are turning toward products that help comfort and entertain.”

Other items that helped boost e-commerce spending included jigsaw puzzles, which saw an increase by 365 per cent; gaming chair sales have increased by 341 per cent. Alcohol sales have increased by 198 per cent and 3D printer sales rose by 184 per cent. Oral care sales have seen a 115 per cent increase. Scooter sales have increased by 106 per cent and throw pillow sales saw a 94 per cent rise. Home fragrance sales rose by 94 per cent.

To adapt to the new normal, Barnard said businesses should use customer and store sales data to advertise to in-store shoppers online, target the right audiences based on category growth in the market and monitor product trends week-by-week.

He also added that a targeted and personalised approach with a focus on remarketing is vital in today’s business environment.

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