Most Australian retailers have been permitted to operate as long as they are able to comply with social distancing regulations (of 4sqm per person). These retailers include discretionary categories such as fashion, gifts and homewares.
Federal and selected state governments are gradually easing restrictions around public gatherings, how businesses can operate, and regional travel, with a 3-step plan in place to create a COVIDSafe Australia with new ways of living and working. Find out more here.
Please note: Metropolitan Melbourne and the Shire of Mitchell in Victoria have returned to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions from 8 July 2020. Retailers will expect to see less foot traffic through their physical shopfronts and are adapting to a return to lockdown regulations. Many independent retailers in Melbourne are choosing to close their doors again, as the second lockdown has again significantly reduced foot traffic and, for some, shifted sales online. Find out more about the restrictions in place.
The closure of physical retail during the height of COVID-19 - combined with huge home-based populations and captive audiences - has generated a large uplift in online sales. Retailers with effective e-commerce capabilities are faring best, however consumer sentiment is at an all-time, historic low. Westpac recorded the biggest fall in Australian consumer confidence in its 47-year history of doing its survey, from 91.9% to 75.6%.
Over the last month, different categories have experienced lifts and drops:
UP: Skincare, vitamins & supplements, leisurewear, at-home beauty, DIY and craft, gardening.
DOWN: Luxury goods, makeup, fashion, shoes, bags, discretionary expenditure e.g. umbrellas, handbags.
Supermarkets and pharmacies have become the major physical channels and brands selling through these have seen massive, yet unsustainable spikes. New Zealand companies without Australia-based stock have faced challenges during this period. Demand for non-essential product and/or product sold through physical retail has been severely reduced.
In addition, major cashflow issues in their reseller network mean some New Zealand companies are not being paid in full or on-time, or orders are reduced or cancelled. Those who sell through independent or specialist retailers have seen their retailers going through major woes. Sadly, many channel partners will not survive this.