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E-commerce

Online sales grew faster than normal in August

Australia’s e-commerce sector grew 1.7 per cent month-on-month in seasonally adjusted terms in August, a rapid acceleration beyond the usual seasonal pattern.

That is according to NAB’s latest Online Retail Sales Index, which tracks online retail sales growth by category each month.

Year-on-year growth was also stronger in August with sales up 10.3 per cent compared to last year. While trend online retail sales dipped slightly in the month, it was still much stronger than February and March.

Compared to ABS data on traditional retailers, which showed flat month-on-month seasonally adjusted sales, online retail sales were much faster month-on-month.

NAB reported that most categories accelerated in August 2017 compared to the previous year, with the fastest year-on-year growth in games and toys (21.6 per cent in August 2017, compared to 11.9 per cent in August 2016).

This was followed by:

  • Food catering (18 per cent in August 2017, compared to 13.1 per cent in August 2016)
  • Media (17.7 per cent in August 2017, compared to 8.2 per cent in August 2016)
  • Daily deals (12.8 per cent in August 2017, compared to 6.5 per cent in August 2016)
  • Grocery and liquor (9.3 per cent in August 2017, compared to 7.8 per cent in August 2016)

The rate of growth slowed in two categories in August 2017 compared to the previous year, including homeware and appliances, the largest spend share category, personal and recreation and fashion.

  • Homeware and appliance (11.7 per cent in August 2017, compared to 16.6 per cent in August 2016)
  • Personal and recreational (1.4 per cent in August 2017, compared to 2.5 per cent in August 2016)
  • Fashion (0.6 per cent in August 2017, compared to 0.7 per cent in August 2016)

In August, SME sales represented just over a third of all online sales. Seasonally adjusted SME sales saw strong growth in the month (2.6 per cent) after a couple of weak months prior.

Overall, NAB estimated that Australians spent $23.28 billion online over the 12 months to August 2017, which is equivalent to 7.5 percent of spending at traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers, as measured by the ABS in the 12 months to July 2017.

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