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Trend in online retail sales virtually flat

A slowdown in online retail sales in April wiped out gains made in March, according to data from NAB.

The monthly Online Retail Sales Index shows the sector contracted -0.8 per cent month-on-month in seasonally adjusted terms, reversing the 0.8 per cent month-on-month growth in March.

In addition, year-on-year growth slowed from the revised 10.5 per cent in March to 6.9 per cent in April. (NAB initially recorded 9 per cent year-on-year growth for March.)

The revised trend estimate for online retail sales is now virtually flat at 0.1 per cent.

The April slowdown was felt across categories, with the exception of homewares and appliances, games and toys and daily deals.

Homewares and appliances saw 10.4 per cent year-on-year growth in April, compared to 8.7 per cent year-on-year growth in March, while games and toys was up 14.9 per cent year-on-year in April, compared to 8.2 per cent year-on-year in March.

Daily deals was back in the black, showing 4.4 per cent year-on-year growth in April vs -3.8 per cent year-on-year growth in March.

Media (books, movies, music) maintained strong growth, while takeaway food sales slowed considerably.

Meanwhile SMEs recorded fewer negative sales in April than the sector as a whole (-0.4 per cent month-on-month in seasonally adjusted terms), and their year-on-year growth is stronger than corporates (10.6 per cent vs 6.9 per cent).

NAB estimates that Australian consumers have spent around $22.37 billion online over the last 12 months to April 2017, with SME sales representing just over a third of the total.

Overall  e-commerce spending is equivalent to 7.3 per cent of spending at bricks-and-mortar retailers.

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