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ARTICLE Business TipsNovember 19, 2014

How Australian online retail has performed so far this year


We take a look at how e-commerce has been tracking so far this year, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index.

Australians’ love affair with online shopping has continued to bloom in recent months, with online retail sales up 12.8 per cent in September, compared with the same month in 2013. This is according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index, which provides a monthly benchmark of how e-commerce is performing in Australia.

While online sales have held up through the spring, traditionally the entire retail sector will experience a major boost in the weeks running up to Christmas. 

The NAB Online Retail Sales Index showed that growth in online sales is outpacing traditional retail sales. However, e-commerce growth rates have been gradually slowing. For example, in the 12 months ending September 2011, growth was up 28.4 per cent, significantly higher than the current rate of 12.8 per cent.

In dollar terms, the index forecasts that Australians spent $15.9 billion on online retail in the 12 months to September 2014. This level is equivalent to 6.7 per cent of spending at traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers, as measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (excluding cafés, restaurants and takeaway food, to create a like-for-like comparison) in the 12 months to August 2014.

In terms of sectors, homewares and appliances notched up the highest growth rate in September 2014, up 35.8 per cent, compared with the same month last year. Other sectors seeing double-digit growth included electronic games and toys (35.1 per cent), groceries and liquor (12.1 per cent) and department stores (11.3 per cent).

Personal and recreational goods and daily deals saw a contraction during September of 1.2 per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively.

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