The latest e-commerce benchmarks, and what to expect in the year ahead

According to a recent online consumer study, published by the e-commerce accelerator, Pattern, 86 per cent of Australians have made a purchase online in the past month. For 54 per cent of respondents, it was in the past week. 

As Australians grapple with life in and out of lockdown, online shopping has become the go-to for necessary (and some unnecessary) items. 

An industry worth over $50 billion online last year, e-commerce sales grew 57 per cent in 2020 representing 16.3 per cent of retail spend. With our finger firmly on the pulse, Pattern Australia has recently launched an FY21 Australian E-commerce Benchmark report analysing performance by month, channel, device and state across the last financial year. 

According to this research, the e-commerce industry continues to fluctuate based on lockdown trends, however it’s clear the exponential growth seen last year likely will not be replicated this year as panic buying has subsided and consumers are learning to live with Covid-19 in this ‘new normal’. 

In the first half of FY21 (July- December 2020), Australia had just come out of the biggest spike in e-commerce history where April – June 2020 performed at an unprecedented level with a trifecta of high traffic, strong conversion rates and a higher-than-average transaction value, resulting in a phenomenal Q4 in FY20. Understandably FY21 could not compete with this and although Q1-Q3 performed well on the year, it was not a comparable result. Q4 revenue stepped back 29 per cent on the year, hopefully not a sign of things to come as we head into FY22.

Although it’s insightful to demonstrate the impact of Covid-19 by analysing FY21 performance against FY20, we’re in a new realm of benchmarking now, with a new wave of online converts joining the online shopping population. Going forward, any comparisons made will be affected by lockdowns, working restrictions which all fluctuate by state. On page 22 of the report, you can visibly see the impact of Victoria’s lockdown on e-commerce performance. The state recorded a 39 per cent conversion increase on the year, with an incredible 4 per cent conversion in September 2020.

November has become the most prolific month for online shopping with the most amount of traffic ever recorded in a month since we began analysing e-commerce performance in 2014. This result was driven by Cyber Weekend and Click Frenzy events which converted at 2.64 per cent – 21 per cent higher than the year’s average. The majority of consumer spending was also seen in this month, with revenue reported 50 per cent higher than the monthly average. 

According to our recently released Online Shopper Report, the main categories being purchased online include clothing, shoes & accessories, with 43 per cent buying these items directly from a retailer’s website during the past 12 months. This compares to 62 per cent who have bought from a physical store. In the same survey, 40 per cent of consumers said they would consider buying from this category via Amazon, so brands should consider their price competitiveness and delivery proposition, as these are the two key motivators to buying from the retail giant. 

Forty-seven per cent of online shoppers surveyed said they are buying more online due to Covid-19, and 39 per cent are visiting physical stores less often. Although we’ve seen a dramatic shift to online spending in the past year, 40 per cent of respondents don’t anticipate further changes to their ‘new normal’ and 35 per cent believe they will buy more online for the remainder of 2021. With the new Delta Covid-19 entering Australia, new lockdowns, and restrictions in place, it’s likely e-commerce will see another spike while retail stores in the two biggest traffic driving states remain closed. 

Pattern Australia releases a monthly report analysing Australia’s e-commerce performance. You can download the report here, or to become a contributor, please email

Pattern is the e-commerce partner of choice for a growing number of consumer brands – acting as their authorised marketplace seller. As well as being one of the largest Amazon sellers in the world, we are also present on Tmall,, eBay and others. Talk to us at