Online shopping, a renewed focus on health and wellbeing, and time spent viewing connected TV soared for Aussies during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown – and it’s not going anywhere, according to a new MiQ study.
The global study including Australia, A year of lockdowns and how they changed consumers around the world, conducted by MiQ, looks at how consumers adapted to 2020 and what changes are likely to be temporary – and what’s likely to stick around.
For Australians, lockdown hailed a new era of online shopping, proving more popular than ever with both the young, digitally saver shoppers, and older people. And it’s here to stay – while many people said they were looking forward to returning to bricks and mortar stores, nearly half (46 per cent) said they felt positive about buying clothes and accessories online, even post-lockdown.
Clothing remained the most sought-after item for online shoppers (47 per cent), followed by beauty products (33 per cent) and electronics and entertainment (32 per cent).
Social distancing also created a new breed of Australian fitness fanatics, mainly aged between 25 and 44, who were active on health and fitness digital platforms.
The renewed wellness focus has stuck, with Australia’s young fitness enthusiasts becoming the first globally to renew their gym memberships post-lockdown and a quarter of people continuing to search for meal preparation and healthy eating plans.
Despite the surge in exercise, half of Australia spent more time in front of the TV. Lockdown accelerated the rise of new platforms, with significant growth noted on new and emerging devices and platforms.
Connected TV grew by 200 per cent, gaming consoles (up 70 per cent) and online gaming saw massive gains, with Australians seeking out games, lifestyle content and sport during lockdown. According to the study, the growth in content consumption on OTT TV has continued, particularly among those aged 35 or older.
In Australia, 48 per cent of people said they were spending more time watching TV, the second highest globally behind the UK (49 per cent).
Viewability has also increased post lockdowns and is now back to or above pre-pandemic levels, with user responses on display ads up by 4 per cent, with categories such as travel, automotive and finance showing big improvements.
People have not lost their lust for travel, with holidays still on the horizon for many. Of those surveyed, 44 per cent said they were planning a holiday in 2021 – though half will be within their own country.
People over the age of 45 are more tentative about travel: only a third have plans to holiday.
The study also identified five new audiences who had emerged post-pandemic: the self-improvers, parent-teacher-playmates, fitness fanatics, entertainment junkies and online shoppers.
MiQ Australia CEO, Jason Scott, said these new audiences would prove critical to advertisers looking to boost sales in a post-pandemic world.
“COVID-19 had an enormous impact on how we live, work and interact, and forced many of us to adapt and change our behaviour to find new ways of living and working, and new means of entertainment,” he said.
“Our data has shown it’s likely many of these new behaviours will stick around – and that means change for advertisers. Businesses now have more ways to learn about their audience and reach the market than ever before. But the ability to reach the right audience at the right time and with the right message is a challenge. Advertisers need to tap into the available data and harness it to be strategic with campaigns. For example, the growth in the connected TV space provides a massive opportunity, along with the changing audience demographic of online shoppers and gaming users.”
*Methodology: MiQ looked at a mix of data from digital devices, including PCs and laptops, as well as data from connected TVs, location data from mobile devices and compared user activities over the past 12 months to identify behaviour changes. This data was then compared with insights from a survey of global consumers, conducted with Sapio Research.