Aust online habits change amid coronavirus

Christine McGinn
(Australian Associated Press)


Australian women have become more frugal online during the coronavirus pandemic if their search habits are anything to go by, while men have barely changed.

Good hair has remained a top priority for both during the pandemic, while entertainment, music, movies and appliance searches dipped for women.

And searches for holiday destinations plummeted as travel restrictions hit hard.

Hairdresser searches were up three per cent to 38 per cent for women and rose six per cent to 24 per cent for men, according to data from the old Yellow Pages, now known as Yellow.

Yellow surveyed 2000 Australians before COVID-19 hit in January for its annual social media report into the habits of consumers and small businesses, but only 1000 in July.

Clothes remained stable along with furniture, cosmetics and trades.

“We’re in an economic downturn and saving rather than spending, and they are a bit anxious about the future. We are less likely to purchase silk pyjamas or whatever luxuries we usually would because we are trying to save,” Swinburne University of Technology senior lecturer in media Belinda Barnet told AAP on Tuesday.

While working from home and home schooling has increased during the pandemic, online computer sales are down.

Men searching online for computers went from 41 per cent to 28 per cent while the same search by women dropped from 22 per cent to just seven per cent.

Sensis chief marketing officer Hayley Jovanovic said retailers were reporting dramatic increases in sales, meaning people were in-store.

“We think consumers simply went straight to a retailer and purchased without doing much research beforehand,” she said.

Both men and women were less interested in looking at holidays, hospitality went from 41 per cent to 28 per cent for men and from 60 per cent to 46 per cent for women, and health services for both genders dropped too.

Since the pandemic, 44 per cent of men and 47 per cent of women said they have increased the time spent on social media sites.

For men, dating online has been on the rise during the pandemic with an increase across dating platforms from 2.6 per cent to 3.9 per cent, but the odds might be against them with women using them less.


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