Lockdown passion projects spur online sales

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Despite the lockdown restrictions, some small businesses across Australia experiencing healthy growth as people spend more time at home and more cash online.

Released today, NAB’s monthly online retail sales report for July shows a 6.4 per cent increase in online sales for the month and a 20 per cent increase year-on-year.

Josh Brown, founder and owner of ECS Exhaust on the New South Wales-Central Coast has seen a sharp spike in online sales over the past eighteen months. He attributes the boom to more people at home dedicating their time to restoring long loved cars that were previously neglected in the garden.

“People were coming to us to buy parts for their own passion projects, so they had something to do while in lockdown. Sales went crazy, triple what we were doing before the pandemic – and it hasn’t stopped,” Mr Brown said.

“Most of our inventory is Australian made, so we were in a very good position compared to a lot of our competitors. While people were scratching to find parts from overseas suppliers, we were able to continue selling online – reaching customers we weren’t reaching previously.

“We’ve all spent more time online during the pandemic, this seems to be changing the way a lot of our customers shop. We’re continuing to invest in our online platform, as online shopping is here to stay.”

In month-on-month terms, online sales grew in all states and territories except Victoria which contracted slightly after rapid growth in June. Growth was led by NSW (19 per cent) – double that of second placed NT (8.9 per cent).

New South Wales also ranked first in all categories except homewares and appliances, games, and takeaway food where the State ranked second.

NAB’s Executive for Small Business, Ana Marinkovic acknowledged the surge in online sales looked set to continue as both customers and businesses continue to embrace online shopping.

“Consumers have really developed a taste for online retail which has led to a widespread increase in online shopping. This change has opened real opportunities for small businesses to attract customers they may not have been reaching before,” Ms Marinkovic said.

“The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for many small business owners to move online or make further investments to their websites – and as Australia’s largest business lender, we’re here to support them along the way.”

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