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E-commerce

Online sales growth slows in May

Online retail sales growth slowed slightly in May to 1.2 per cent month-on-month growth, from faster 1.6 per cent growth in April, according to NAB’s most recent Online Retail Sales Index.

Small and medium businesses, which represent over 36 per cent of all online sales, outpaced large online retailers, growing 3.9 per cent month-on-month.

Year-on-year growth was also slower in May, with sales up 17.2 per cent compared to April’s year-on-year growth on 18.4 per cent. However, trend online retail sales is still much stronger compared to the same period a year ago.

At the same time, online retail sales growth continues to outpace the retail sector as a whole. ABS data on traditional retailers showed month-on-month sales growth was just 0.4 per cent in April.

The index estimates that Australian consumers have spent around $26.08 billion over the 12 months to May 2018. This is equivalent to 8.3 per cent of spending at traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers, as measured by the ABS in the 12 months to April 2018.

Most of the categories included in the index showed moderate slowing, but they all maintained double-digit year-on-year growth. Games and toy retailers saw the fastest year-on-year growth, with sales accelerating 29.5 per cent in the 12 months to May, compared to 26.6 per cent in the 12 months to April.

Department stores recorded the second fastest growth rate at 23.5 per cent, slowing down from 25.6 per cent in April.

The much larger sales category, media, was third fastest in year-on-year terms at 21.8 per cent, but also slowed from April at 24.2 per cent, along with grocery and liquor, which slowed from 21.3 per cent in the 12 months to April to 20.8 per cent in the 12 months to May.

The recent resurgence in fashion continues, with growth accelerating again to 16.5 per cent growth over the 12 months to May, compared to 15.4 per cent in the 12 months to April.

Personal and recreational slowed to 11.9 per cent from 13.1 per cent, along with the largest spend category, homewares and appliances, which dropped from 13.4 per cent growth in the 12 months to April to 11.8 per cent growth in the 12 months to May, and the smallest category, daily deals, which slowed from 20.6 per cent growth to 11.6 per cent growth.

While food catering had a marginal increase in growth over the 12 months to May compared to April, 10.7 per cent compared to 10.5 per cent, it was the slowest category in May.

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