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Australian online spending up 10 per cent on last year

Despite the sluggish growth in overall retail sales, online retail saw a more impressive September, growing 1.8 per cent over the month and 10.5 per cent year on year.

According to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index, all online retail categories barring fashion saw growth in month on month terms. 

This is contrasted with the overall retail sales growth of 0.2 per cent for the month of September, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, falling short of the 0.4 per cent growth forecasted by experts.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster said the index data shows that after a mid-year slump online sales grew at a more modest rate than seen in August.

“Online retail sales tend to be more volatile than broader retail, experiencing far greater monthly fluctuations, but the last six months have been considerably more so,” Oster said. 

“Looking through the month-to-month volatility, sales growth in year-on-year terms returned to double digits, and 12 months to September growth remains strong [at 9.1 per cent of total spend].”

NAB estimates Australians spent $29.53 billion on online retail in the year to September.

While fashion saw a 1 per cent drop over the month, online sales of games and toys grew 9 per cent, while takeaway food grew 7 per cent.

Online grocery and liquor sales grew by approximately 1.7 per cent month on month.

International online retailers outpaced domestic rivals, with spending growing 3.2 per cent over the month, compared to 1.4 per cent for local retailers.

Additionally, New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland drove sales in metropolitan areas, while regional sales were stronger in Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania.

Despite this, online sales in New South Wales saw the largest fall of the month at 1.8 per cent, though this followed a 10.8 per cent increase in August.

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