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Australians set online shopping and cashless payment records during COVID-19 lockdown

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The coronavirus crisis has sped up Australia’s move to going cashless by five years and seen online shopping hit record numbers according to PayPal Australia.

Australians took to online shopping like never before after restrictions to physical stores were in place and other storefronts shuttered during the pandemic.

And the stores that were open were encouraging customers to make cashless tap and go payments.

Sign-ups to PayPal tripled during the COVID-19 restrictions in April when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

And these new sign-ups included a 65 per cent year-on-year increase of Australians aged 50 or over.

There are now more than 8 million PayPal accounts in Australia covering a third of the population.

“PayPal has always been here to serve and I’m proud that during the COVID-19 pandemic we were able to help Australian consumers buy the essentials they needed online quickly and securely as well supporting our business customers in these challenging times,” says PayPal Australia CEO Paul Ryan.

PayPal recorded the strongest monthly results in the company’s history in April with the highest number of transactions and highest total value of payments ever processed.

Small businesses in Australia saw sales processed through PayPal surge by 54 per cent during the coronavirus pandemic in April.

“The social distancing required to fight COVID-19 has accelerated the move to digital payments by up to five years in the space of a couple of months,” Ryan says.

“There are clear signs that this shift to digital services will be lasting. Even though some consumers may revert to their old shopping habits, increased use of ecommerce will be the new normal in Australia.

“We’ve reached a tipping point where digital payments are now an essential service, rather than just a nice to have.

“PayPal has been there to help customers and merchants since day one and we’ll be there throughout the recovery process as well.”

And the changes people made during the coronavirus restrictions will continue.

For example, one in three people who began online grocery shopping during the COVID-19 lockdown will continue to do so even after all restrictions are lifted, according to PayPal.

So what did people buy online?

Groceries, meal deliveries, alcohol and subscription services were the most popular items we purchased online.
Also popular were tech and home improvement products.

Buy cyber criminals were also out in force with the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) reporting more than 2000 scams resulting in $700,000 in losses.

“PayPal has acted to protect online consumer safety during the pandemic, including taking action against websites that fraudulently claim to offer home test kits and immunity tablets to Australians, and online businesses that have artificially inflated prices on essential goods including hand sanitizer, surgical masks, gloves, and even bottled water,” says Ryan.

“We’ve also taken steps to support small businesses struggling through economic uncertainty by waiving certain fees, deferring repayments on select business loans, and providing information to help navigate these times.”