Australia is entering the end-of-financial-year (EOFY) period, one of the country’s biggest shopping events. In 2019, Australians spent $82.2 billion during this EOFY period, but things this year will likely be different due to the coronavirus context.
For 2020, we can expect changes in consumer behavior that were brought upon by lockdown measures to be reflected in the EOFY sales. As lockdown measures are slowly relaxed, online sales aren’t expected to rise during this period because online shopping has already increased with COVID-19.
2020 was marked by an increase in online traffic that arrived much earlier than EOFY sales, with sales above average. Therefore, merchants shouldn’t place all their bets on EOFY sales. Due to circumstances, shoppers might be buying different products, but they’re still shopping.
So how will 2020 be any different?
On Shopbot, we’ve noticed a shift in interest towards consumer electronics products such as LCD monitors and home theater speakers, the same type of products that were popular in the past years. However, coffee machines, webcams, printers and gas cook-tops are also popular at the moment, evidence that despite lockdown measures loosening up, we’ve adapted our habits to a more ‘work from home’ lifestyle.
A quick search on Google Trends showed that interest in the subject isn’t as high as 2019.
As businesses try to get back on their feet post-lockdown, targeting customers at home is probably the most efficient way to make the best out of EOFY sales.
Lockdown changed our daily lives and our consumer behavior. We turned to the internet for what used to be done physically, from buying groceries to picking out new kitchen appliances. As a result, online shopping grew exponentially in Australia and around the world. To rise to the spike in online services demand, stores turned their attention e-commerce.
The e-commerce industry was already poised for growth in Australia, where there was an increase of 17.6% in online sales in 2019. Add to the context the pandemic in 2020, there was a jump of 20% in online sales in March, year-over-year. It was of no surprise then when seasonal holidays such as the Easter weekend saw an exceptional increase in online shopping. Things are expected to remain in the digital realm as consumer shift preferences.
EOFY sales 2019, what did it look like?
For those unfamiliar with this season, they’re called EOFY sales because the financial year in Australia begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. This means that businesses will do their best to try and clear older stock models to make way for new ones.
The sales season begins on May 1 like every year and goes on until the end of June, with consumer electronics and apparel being the most popular products. In 2019, Shopbot saw an increase of 40-50% in electronics such as TVs and desktop computers, home appliances (dishwashers and microwaves), and even video game consoles with the Nintendo Switch skyrocketing by 100%.
According to research done by Microsoft, the sales season of 2019 was witness to a high user engagement until August. A couple of things can be attributed to this trend, from an increasingly strong e-commerce presence across the retail industry to a seasonal attractiveness made right by the EOFY sales, winter discounts and Amazon Prime Day mid-July.
The final word
As mentioned, 2020 was marked by an increase in traffic that arrived a few months before the EOFY sales. It was kind of like Black Friday and Cyber Weekend, but lasting (much) longer than a few days. This year, the end-of-fiscal-year sales will be the scenery to different consumer choices and will take place mostly online. This allows retailers to not only bounce back after the economic pause caused by COVID-19 but also for customers to go back to their habits slowly.