According to PayPal Australia, Aussies have quickly adopted online shopping over the period of the crisis, with sign-ups to its services having almost tripled compared to pre-pandemic levels.
PayPal Australia says it recorded the strongest monthly results in the company’s history, with the highest number of transactions and largest total value of payments ever processed in April, with the leap in online shopping “set to having lasting impacts and has accelerated Australia’s shift to become a cashless society by up to 5 years”.
PayPal says the “surge of new users” included a 65% year-on-year increase in sign-ups among ‘silver tech’ Australians who are 50 or older, and now, over 8 million Australians have an active PayPal account, which is almost a third of the population”.
According to PayPal, “the lockdown proved that even while socially distancing, Aussies by and large looked to stay entertained and improve their lives at home.
“PayPal has seen that Australians have stocked up on groceries, alcohol, meal delivery and subscription services. The research also found that online marketplaces experienced an increase in consumer demand, as well as food delivery platforms such as Mr. Yum and Uber Eats.
“Meanwhile, online spending categories that have experienced the most significant impact include travel and airfares, tourism, and events and ticketing.
“Australian small businesses have also benefited from this increase in users, as there has been a 54% rise in sales processed by small businesses on the PayPal platform during COVID-19 restrictions,” PayPal said.
PayPal Australia’s resident Shopping Expert Danielle Grant said, “A lot of people and businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic and our thoughts go out to them. At PayPal we’re lucky to provide ecommerce services which have been vital during this time. It makes us proud that we’ve been able to help millions of Aussies get their essential items online quickly and safely during COVID-19. Although some may go back their old shopping habits post-pandemic, an increased use of e-commerce will be the new normal in Australia.”
Grant cites a recent PayPal study that found that one in three people who began online grocery shopping during the pandemic would continue to do so after restrictions are lifted, and additionally, research has shown a 66% lift in Australian consumer willingness to buy when PayPal is an available payment option at checkout.
However, Grant says that increased numbers online during COVID-19 has resulted in a rise in fraudulent and scam activity, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently revealing that the number of scams since the pandemic began is now over 2,000, resulting in $700,000 reported in losses.
“While Gen Z and Gen Y have traditionally driven the growing trend of online shopping,[iii] social distancing restrictions have meant many mature Australians have had to adapt and start shopping online for the first time,” said Grant.
“Sadly though, scammers around the world have used the pandemic as an opportunity to prey on people who may not be as familiar with online shopping. These scammers are using public panic and confusion to maximise the effectiveness of their attacks and many of them are very convincing. Fortunately, Australians are becoming increasingly wary of these cyber-attacks and are looking to trusted services like PayPal to help them navigate shopping safely online.”