Facebook has released its annual report outlining conversation topics that gained momentum on Facebook and Instagram, assessing the habits and interests they reflect.
I’ve highlighted the two sections of the report that focused on Australia. The full report is available for download below.
The Joy of Reading
Almost three-quarters (72%) of all Australians read for pleasure in 2019. While sheltering in place, people are finding even more time and appreciation for all kinds of books.
Literature is providing a sense of escape through vivid landscapes, company in the form of fictional characters and community through book groups online, which are growing as people seek out places to share ideas and interests.
Australians are also learning about the world around them through nonfiction. Readers had already demonstrated an appetite for history, identity and social issues—titles by female and First Nations authors, for example, were topping the country’s charts in 2018. In 2020, people are more interested than ever in books on race and representation as a global dialog opens up around racial inequity.
Beyond the books themselves, small bookstores are reinforcing their presence< in local communities, offering online lectures, discussion groups and kids’ story times. Libraries have also taken an active community role, delivering books and calling to check on elderly people. As books become wider windows into the world, literary tradition is going from hobby to habit.
Compared with other countries, Australia has been slow to embrace online
shopping, since the country’s geographic spread makes deliveries hard to fulfill efficiently. But since Amazon entered the market in 2017, interest in e-commerce has grown significantly. That interest is intensifying as shoppers discover the convenience of deferred payment plans and rapid delivery where they can find it.
Between March and April 2020, e-commerce spending increased 29% month over month as people sought out necessities online, and nearly half of Australian online shoppers reported using at least one new digital shopping platform for the first time between July and August 2020.
Among new shopping trends taking off are subscription boxes, which supply people with new selections of drinks and snacks, beauty products and vitamins each month. In a time when people’s schedules and surroundings are otherwise predictable, unboxing these deliveries provides some much-needed serendipity.
Australians are taking care to select online retailers who are able to serve their regions efficiently, and many prefer click-and-collect programs, which enable shoppers to pre-order and pick up their purchases at a local store. Out of necessity, Australians are quickly forging a hybrid shopping experience that fits their needs online and offline.