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April’s online sales slow compared to pandemic highs

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April’s online sales growth slowed to 1.4 per cent year-on-year compared to the highs of last year’s e-commerce boom, which saw online shopping jump almost 61 per cent as the initial impact of a nationwide lockdown took effect.

In month-on-month terms online sales fell 3.7 per cent on March’s figures, though NAB chief economist Alan Oster said perspective is key in interpreting the data correctly.

“As mentioned last month, part of this slowdown in year-on-year growth is a result of the base effects of the initial online spike in 2020,” Oster said.

“The contraction in sales this month was driven by another drop in the largest sales category, homewares and appliances, in all states except WA and ACT.”

Other sectors also saw sales drop in April, such as fashion, personal and recreational goods, but these are falls only when compared to the high base levels of the prior year. Overall, NAB predicts Australians spent $46.7 billion online in the last 12 months – almost 40 per cent higher than the year to April 2020.

And while domestic retailers took off during the pandemic year, with international trade getting back on track overseas retailers are beginning to outpace domestic growth.

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