New data reveals online gym classes and takeaway fine dining here to stay

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New NAB research has revealed that the ‘digital pivot’ is here to stay with more businesses and consumers transacting online than ever before.

It’s no surprise that the pandemic has transformed the way Australian consumers purchase goods and services. Many industries adapted to e-technologies and virtual appointments to keep their businesses going. Virtual fitness and cooking classes and telehealth appointments are now part of everyday lives.

However, NAB’s latest research reveals that even when social distancing restrictions are removed, more Australians than ever before prefer online transactions. One in two Australians now strongly prefer to do their banking on the internet and would rather go online to buy a holiday, watch a movie, complete tertiary education and buy books.

NAB’s Executive for Small Business, Ana Marinkovic acknowledged the lines between physical and digital business are dissolving.

“There will always be a role for physical retail in some sense, but the digital revolution is well and truly here,” Ms Marinkovic said.

“Increasingly, we are seeing businesses establishing multiple touchpoints for their customers, both in the physical and digital worlds. This means that a bakery for example will have just as much need for a store with beautiful displays of bread and pastries as they will for brilliant food photography and an efficient online checkout system.”

Mat Knipe from Melbourne-based Reformer Pilates business Love Athletica said the company didn’t offer online classes before the pandemic because it just wasn’t a priority when in-person classes were thriving.

“Turning to digital during the pandemic allowed us to continue to stay in touch with our client base and keep our business afloat while our physical locations were closed,” Mr Knipe said.

“Now we see it is as a critical channel not only to retain existing clients but to reach new customers and keep them all moving daily from the comfort of their own homes. Today a Love Athletica customer can book a class, purchase merchandise, hire equipment and participate in an online class all from their device in a few simple clicks.

“Even when social distancing restrictions have eased, we have a strong number of customers that are incorporating online classes with in person visits into their weekly routines. We have found new customers both overseas and interstate which opens up a whole new business opportunity for us,” he said.

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