‘It was like Christmas all over again’
REGIONAL Australia has led an unprecedented surge in online shopping as astounding postal figures are released.
The research showed Australia Post helped deliver an extra 26 million parcels around the country during the height of the coronavirus crisis and the Palms Centre Post Office in Coffs Harbour was in the thick of the action.
Postal manager Jo Clarke said during the crisis staff were suddenly met with “incredible” amounts of parcel post – most commonly online shopping purchases.
“It was like Christmas all over again,” she said.
“But when we come into the Christmas period we are usually prepared for it.
“The effort of our staff during COVID has been exceptional because those volumes have been consistently there over a long period.”
The research by Deloitte Access Economics showed during the three months to May 2020, Australia Post facilitated an additional $2.4 billion in e-commerce compared to the same time last year.
A quarter of that was in regional and remote communities, with activity increasing at a faster rate than in metropolitan areas.
Food, liquor, homewares and appliances stood out as the top categories for growth in Australia Post parcel deliveries in the lockdown, while variety stores and fashion retailers gained sales momentum during the three-month period.
DAE partner John O’Mahony noted with more than 80 per cent of the e-commerce economy facilitated by Australia Post, regional Australia was increasingly reliant on the parcel delivery service, particularly as lockdowns and restrictions on physical shopping drove people to online shopping.
“Consumer behaviour has changed as a result of this health and economic crisis, businesses and individuals have had to adapt drastically to a changing climate,” he said.
“With many stores closed or having limited physical operations, consumers have shifted to online purchases, resulting in changes to delivery networks.
“The limited availability of alternatives for the fast and reliable delivery of parcels between regional and remote areas means that for many businesses operating outside of metropolitan cities, Australia Post’s delivery infrastructure is essential for maintaining a high quality experience for customers residing in other regional communities.”
Australia Post Group CEO Christine Holgate said while this was a credit to the direct workforce of 36,000 people, it was encouraging to see an additional 25,000 full-time jobs were supported during the pandemic.
“It’s very clear Australia Post has played a critical role in keeping the country running during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Holgate said.
“Not only have we supported business to trade online, for every three workers employed by Australia Post, another two jobs in other businesses and industries have been supported, many in small and medium businesses.
“This new analysis underlines the fundamental role Australia Post plays in connecting communities and businesses across Australia.”