July online spending


online credit cardNational Australia Bank’s (NAB) latest Online Retail Sales Index says that despite a slow start to the year, Australia’s online spending increased to $14.1 billion in the year to July 2013, equivalent to 6.3 per cent of traditional retail sales.

Commenting on the findings, NAB chief economist, Alan Oster, said that following a flat start to the year, monthly growth rates have accelerated during the past three months, and there was a strong up-tick in July.“Department and variety stores, groceries, and liquor and media drove the growth over this period,” Oster said.At a state level, the figures showed growth in Western Australia has slowed considerably. Across 2011 and the first half of 2012 the state outperformed the rest of the country, but experienced weaker than average growth in July.

The ACT, Northern Territory and Western Australia recorded the strongest spending on a per capita basis.

“The results for WA appear to support broader economic commentary around the state and the slowing rate of growth,” Oster said.

The results also reveal that the growth rates for international and domestic sales have remained broadly the same for the past three months despite the recent fall in the Australian dollar.

“This highlights that there are a multitude of factors going into a consumer’s online spending decisions, it’s not just about price,” Oster said.

Tiernan White, NAB’s retail sector head pointed to the split between traditional retailers and online only retailers as another interesting find. Spending at pureplay retailers accounted for 70 per cent of total sales, slightly lower than a high of 73 per cent at the start of 2010.

“This decline demonstrates that businesses are realising that having a multi-channel business model is important,” White said.

“Further, we believe the previous dominance in pureplay retail may continue to slowly diminish.

“When considering their approach, businesses need to consider multiple issues, but most importantly the offering must complement their bricks and mortar offering and avoid the cannibalisation of their existing retail store,” he said.

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