Surprising deliveries for our essential delivery services

Delivery services have gone from convenient to essential in just a few weeks. Australians staying at home, either voluntarily or under order, are relying heavily on parcel deliveries. Many of these items are “the essentials” of course. But what surprising things has the nationwide closure of retailers, restaurants, gyms, and offices really got us buying? 

Parcel delivery volumes explode with online sales

Efforts to keep the vulnerable population safe of COVID-19 have exploded parcel delivery volumes. While already struggling bricks-and-mortar stores close doors, online sales boom. Australia Post says they’ve seen a “surge” in online sales and their parcel delivery service had a 50 per cent increase in the last few weeks. Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate said in an interview it’s “bigger than the Christmas peak”

Big online sales numbers have been the norm overseas for more than a decade. Not here. Australia has lagged behind other developed countries in the adoption of e-commerce for years. Many theories have been put up as to why. Yet, behind as we may be, Australian online shopping has seen lots of growth in the last couple of years. Our spending online has increased over 24 per cent year on year. More than 73 per cent of households shopped online in 2018. Then the pandemic hit and buying online became essential.

Delivery services: convenient and essential

Delivery services have mostly been seen as convenient until now. Last-mile delivery solutions have largely addressed the issue of convenience. The current situation makes it clear just how essential delivery services and delivery solutions are. The Conversation recently raised an important question about our delivery workers. Since we’re relying on them to provide essential services putting them at risk, don’t they deserve employee rights?

Our delivery services are evolving. There are important changes to existing services, services which are expanding the scope to help with demand, and some new delivery services that didn’t exist in February. The home delivery of pharmacy and medical goods is an important example. This newly available service is thanks to the Federal Government’s $25 million funding for home pharmacy delivery. Pharmacies can offer free home delivery of medications and essential supplies through Australia Post.

Medicines and medical supplies aside, though, convenience isn’t completely forgotten. There’s a lot of discretionary spending from those lucky enough to still have an income. The Courier-Mail is even offering celebrity stylist’s tips on “online shopping in lockdown”. So what exactly are we buying?

Surprising buying trends 

Home isolation has sparked some surprising buying trends across online marketplaces. You’d never guess ebay’s reports of a spike in jewellery sales. “Many people predicted isolation would cause relationships to suffer, but perhaps we’re seeing the opposite,” says eBay Australia’s Managing Director, Tim MacKinnon. Maybe so. Myer has reported a jump in intimate apparel sales of between 100 and 400 per cent. 

Beauty products have also seen major growth these last weeks. Sales of skincare products at Myer are up 200 per cent compared to the same time last year. Jurlique’s Softening Hand Lotion has seen a whopping 1,759 per cent growth!

Though Myer’s CCO Geoff Ikin reports “significant growth across all categories”, their biggest category growth is in toys, up 475 per cent. The growth is particularly in sales of board games and jigsaw puzzles. Other online retailers have also reported growth in puzzles and board games. This is both surprising and heartening since we live in the Netflix era. 

The purchase of home office supplies is not surprising, but working from home has produced some surprising orders. Popular online fashion store The Iconic surely has to work from home to thank for their biggest seller this month: slippers. Alcohol delivery start-up Tipple has the best surprise though. Some workplaces have been “surprise-ordering for their employees and getting their team on video calls at the end of the week as a replacement for office drinks.”

 

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