Small business and fashion revive online retail sales

Peter Terlato 5 July 2016

Online shopper card

Aussies are buying up more and more online.

Improved trade for small business and exceptional growth in fashion sales helped Australian online retail sales rebound, totalling almost $20 billion in annual spend in the year to May 2016.

The latest NAB Online Retail Sales Index May 2016 saw sales rise 2%, seasonally adjusted, a 13.2% increase year-on-year.

The pick up in online sales for May was a stark improvement on the previous month's meager 0.3% growth.

The NAB estimates Aussies spent $19.9 billion online over the past 12 months. Measured against ABS statistics, online sales account for 6.7% of total spending at traditional bricks & mortar retailers.

One of the leading drivers of growth in May was fashion sales, jumping 21.1% year-on-year in May, compared with just 8.6% year-on-year in April.

Sales of games and toys were also hugely popular in May, up 41.6% year-on-year in May, compared with 16.2% year-on-year in April.

Department and variety stores, personal and recreational sales and daily deals also showed improvements in May, while sales in food catering, groceries and liquor and media all slowed.

The biggest spend category, homeware and appliances, witnessed a decline in online sales, down 1.7% year-on-year in May.

Small to medium enterprises (SME) operating online enjoyed their strongest and most rapid growth (22.7% year-on-year) since the Index began.

However, NAB warns the overall revised trend estimate for online retail sales continues to lag with monthly estimates on or below 1% for the past year.

Picture: Shutterstock

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