NAB Online Retail Sales Index Monthly Update: August 2014

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Online sales growth continues in August with expansion across most categories.

The monthly report showed further encouraging signs of growth in August, to be 0.7% higher compared to July, and 8.3% higher compared to a year ago, although slower than July (9% YoY).

ABS data also showed reasonably positive comparable sales growth at traditional retailers in July, to be 0.3% higher than June, and 5.7% higher than a year ago.

While growth in online sales continues to outpace traditional retail, its growth rate has been slowing gradually. In the first 12 months of the index, ending January 2011, growth was up 31.8% for the year, significantly higher than recent numbers. The comparable number for January 2014 was 12.8%.

In dollar terms, we estimate Australians spent $15.7 billion on online retail in the 12 months to August 2014. This level is equivalent to 6.6% of spending at traditional bricks & mortar retailers as measured by the ABS (excluding cafés, restaurants and takeaway food, to create a like-for-like comparison) in the 12 months to July 2014.

Online sales growth expanded (year on year) in almost all categories in August. Key growth areas included Electronic Games and Toys (20%), and Homewares and Appliances (15.5%). More moderate growth was seen in Groceries & Liquor (9.2%), Fashion (6.6%), and Media (4.8%). After growth over the past two months, Daily Deals again contracted (-4.7%), along with Personal and Recreational goods (-1.5%).

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