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Victoria drives record Australian online sales growth in July

NAB’s Australian Online Retail Sales Index was up a record 62.6 per cent in July compared to the same month last year, breaking the previous record that the index set in April.

The index provides a snapshot of online spending each month in Australia across eight categories (fashion, department stores, homewares and appliances, personal and recreation, grocery and liquor, games and toys, takeaway food and media) based on personal transaction data from NAB platforms.

The latest ORSI report released on Thursday showed a 6.7-per-cent increase in July from the previous month, with all eight categories recording growth. That is roughly twice the pace of overall retail sales growth in the month, according to preliminary July figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Games and toys and fashion rebounded from weak sales growth in the April and May, while grocery and liquor – the second largest sales category – recorded growth for the 13th straight month.

The largest sales category, homewares and appliances, had the second slowest growth in the month. Strong growth in Victoria, and to a lesser extent, the Northern Territory and South Australia, saved the category from contraction.

In fact, Victoria was a clear standout in the month, recording online sales growth well above the other states. This is despite the fact that Victoria had not yet entered Stage 4 lockdown, when most shops were forced to close, in July. Online sales in the month were nearly double what they were in July 2019.

“The strong result for Victoria was, like the national result, driven by games and toys, and fashion. Unlike the national result, larger sales category, department stores, was in third place for growth, with takeaway food fourth,” said Alan Oster, NAB’s chief economist.

“Victoria also recorded strong growth in homewares and appliances, with SA and NT the only others to record growth for this category.”

Australians spent an estimated $37.4 billion on online retail in the 12 months to July, according to NAB. This represents 11.1 per cent of the total retail trade estimate based on preliminary retail sales figures from the ABS, a 28.6 per cent increase from July 2019.

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