Wagga has taken out the number two place for online shopping in Regional NSW according a recent report released by Australia Post.
The 2022 eCommerce report released last week lists our city as having the second highest volume of online shopping, coming behind Sanctuary Point.
Of note, Wagga also scored better than other major regional centres including Port Macquarie, Orange, Tamworth, Bathurst, Dubbo, and Albury.
The report states online sales in Wagga increased by a staggering 75 per cent between 2019 and 2021.
Wagga Businessman Bruce Heydon runs Riverina Model Cars Plus, and said online sales soared during this period due to COVID.
"Over the past couple of years during the pandemic, about 95 per cent of my sales was online," Mr Heydon said.
The business sells a range of die-cast model cars including street cars and racing cars.
"Basically, even though I was still open to the public, hardly anyone was coming through the door other than people who would pre-pay and pick up," he said.
"Without the online sales, I would have certainly gone out of business."
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But despite the rise, since COVID restrictions were scrapped, he has seen a major slump in online sales.
Meanwhile, Eco Living and Gifts business owner Chelsea Martin also said online shopping was vital during COVID.
"When we were closed, online shopping helped keep us afloat," Ms Martin said.
"As well, since the pandemic we've certainly had more click and collect and local deliveries," she said.
But Ms Martin said online sales at the business had also now dropped off.
Business Manager at the Wagga Business Chamber, Serena Hardwick, agreed that COVID was likely a major factor in the increased online sales.
She said a key aim of the Business Chamber moving forward is to showcase the opportunities available to local businesses online.
"If COVID showed us anything it is that businesses do need to diversify their offering. There are lots of statistics backing the idea that having at least three streams of income is a good way to protect your business."
Ms Hardwick said the government is also looking to incentivise small businesses to invest in technology to take their businesses online as part of the recent federal budget.
"It is a great time for businesses to look at their online offering," she said.
Almost 20 cents out of every dollar spent on retail purchases across Australia last year was done so online with the total national online spending figure hitting $62.3 billion.
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