Why Kmart has an edge over rivals

Budget-conscious Aussies keep clicking on Kmart and Bunnings, new data shows, as they chase value and continue home sprucing.

Kmart continues to be a favourite among Aussies searching retailers online, new data shows, as chasing value stays front of mind.

Macquarie researched Google Trends and found the Wesfarmers-owned budget department store maintained leadership in digital interest, followed by Woolworths-owned Big W.

On the hardware front, Wesfarmers is also winning, with Bunnings the clear standout along with Metcash-owned Mitre 10.

“Wesfarmers has seen favourable momentum in Bunnings and Kmart for online search activity as value remains a key driver for consumers,” Macquarie said.

“As expected, Easter long weekend led to heightened search interest, as people continue home-improvement projects,” the researchers said, adding strong turnover in a booming housing market was also a factor.

They said JB Hi-Fi-owned The Good Guys also fared well but suffered a notable decline in the first week of April, below pre-COVID levels.

After reaping bumper revenue from December’s holiday-season spike in spending, digital interest in JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman has diminished, close to pre-health crisis levels in January last year.

It’s not all good news for Wesfarmers, with interest falling in its new online-only retailer Catch since the heights of Black Friday sales in November, while its Officeworks chain has continued to trend lower due to softer demand for school and office supplies after the back-to-school season in January and CBD offices opening up.

As recently predicted by Morningstar, robustly expanding American online retail giant Amazon had started trending higher, Macquarie said, as it gained traction in Australia.

As for supermarkets, Google Trends also indicates the gap between Woolworths and Coles has narrowed, with the latter appearing to have gained interest in November and December after enduring a slowdown in August and September.

“This may be due to the rollout of Coles Plus online membership … which provides free delivery and click and collect benefits for a subscription fee,” Macquarie said.

Woolworths maintains its leadership in digital interest, however, with IGA remaining the laggard.

Meanwhile, Woolworths-owned Dan Murphy’s and BWS lead the liquor retailers’ segment, with the spikes in interest levels over the December-January holiday season returning during the Easter break.

Domino’s Pizza appears broadly stable, but Macquarie is keeping an eye on returning spend to restaurants and pubs as restrictions ease and the NSW government promotes dining out through vouchers.

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