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Return to office boosts physical shopping, with over 50% spending more in-store

Bazaarvoice, Inc., the leading provider of full-funnel authentic user-generated content (UGC) solutions, has unveiled its biannual Shopper Preference Report, capturing insights from over 1,000 Australian consumers.

The report reveals that Australia is a global leader when it comes to the return to office, seeing 71% of workers back at their desks for a portion of their week. This has a noticeable impact on in-store shopping, as 55% of these consumers associate their return to the workplace with increased spending in brick-and-mortar stores, placing Australia second behind Canada.

The research also unveils another trend: when queried about their spending habits, 51% of Australians say they spend more on in-store purchases, 24% declare they have no significant difference between online and in-store spending, and 24% state they spend more online.

Despite the growing importance of sustainable consumption, with three-quarters of Australians valuing sustainability commitments in brands, the cost-of-living crisis takes precedence in purchasing decisions. This is evidenced by the fact that over two-thirds (69%) of Australians buy at least some of their clothes from fast-fashion retailers, surpassing all other surveyed countries in this regard.

The report delves into consumer behaviour, highlighting their interactions with retailers and the channels through which they make purchases. In a landscape where retailers are fiercely competing for consumer spending, grasping the underlying rationale of their audience is paramount, especially as Australians navigate the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. The findings reveal a diverse spectrum of spending and shopping behaviours among Australians.


More than one in five (22%) of Australians make monthly purchases based on items they encounter on social platforms and this number jumps to 43% for consumers aged 24-34. Furthermore, half of Australians have bought a product after viewing a video of it on social media, underscoring the preference for video content in product discovery, favoured by 61% of consumers over still images (22%).

Other key Australian findings from the Shopper Preference Report include:

  • Brand Loyalty – Quality (47%) surpasses price (44%) as the primary factor influencing brand loyalty among consumers. Brand values rank low on the list of considerations, with only 3% citing it as the main influencing factor. However, when selecting where to shop, 90% of Australian respondents consider a brand’s reputation for reliability and trustworthiness to impact their loyalty to some extent, with only 8% dismissing its significance entirely.
  • Second-Hand Shopping – A significant number of Australians are reluctant to purchase second-hand items, with 45% reporting they have never bought items from thrift stores, charity shops, marketplaces, or second-hand platforms like Vinted and Depop, marking the highest percentage among surveyed countries.
  • Online Shopping Devices – Nearly half of Australians (46%) predominantly use their smartphones to make online purchases, followed by laptops (34%), and tablets (7%), with a minority (12%) staying away from online purchases altogether.
  • Retail Therapy – Australians top the global figures when feeling joy from “retail therapy”, with 24% engaging in it frequently. However, 15% of Australians cannot afford non-essential purchases currently, highlighting the strain faced by the current economic conditions.
  • Private Labels – In the last six months, 60% of Australians have purchased private label products, with fashion (42%), food and beverages (66%), and health and beauty (33%) being the most common categories. Additionally, 43% of consumers have permanently switched some staple products to private-label alternatives, while 19% intend to do so in the future, indicating a growing preference for private-label goods.

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