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Online shopping slowed ascent in September as regional restrictions eased

Online retail growth slowed slightly in September, landing 0.9 per cent above August’s figures, though remains 62.7 per cent higher than the same period of 2019, according to NAB’s latest Online Retail Sales Index.

And while online growth is slowing after the accelerating effect of Australia’s periodic lockdowns, online performance remains among the strongest levels seen in the series’ history.

Much of this growth came from Victoria, as the state’s extended lockdown kept the public away from bricks-and-mortar retailing.

“Metro Victoria contributed to growth in the month, [and] regional areas, possibly with loosening lockdown measures, detracted from growth,” said NAB’s chief economist Alan Oster.

“In year on year terms, Victoria leads in both metro and regional sales growth, with metro (127 per cent up) more than double what it was in September 2019.”

Growth was largely led by take-away food and department stores, while games and toys, grocery and liquor and homewares and appliances contracted slightly.

And sales at local online outlets slowed from the strong growth seen last month, while international sales continued rebounding after a large contraction earlier this year. Compared to last year, however, domestic sales significantly outpace international.

In the year to September NAB estimates Australians spent $40.9 billion online – around 12 per cent of total retail trade estimates and, showing the impact of Covid-19 on online sales, about 38.7 per cent higher than the same period to September 2019.

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