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October online sales

Online shopping conceptAustralians spent a record $16.2 billion online in the year to October 2014, up 11.9 per cent on the previous year, according to National Australia Bank’s (NAB) latest Online Retail Sales Index.

The lion’s share of the increase in online retail sales has come from domestic retail sales, as opposed to Australians shopping internationally. As the Aussie dollar has weakened, domestic online sales expanded by 14.4 per cent, while international sales only grew by 4.7 per cent.

While the largest states also command the largest share of online sales, on a per capita basis Canberrians are the most dedicated online shoppers in the country, followed by shoppers in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and NSW.

By sector, at 43.9 per cent, electronic games and toys had the fastest annual online sales growth in October — 6.7 per cent higher than the previous month, however, this category is considerably more volatile, due to effects such as the timing of electronic game releases.

The second highest annual growth rate is now in the homewares and appliances category, where sales expanded by 22.1 per cent annually and 4.7 per cent monthly.

While online retail remains dominated by those aged 35 and 44, older Australians are also experiencing solid growth. Over 65s have now seen positive growth in online shopping for 14 consecutive months, with spending rising a further 1.7 per cent in October, the fastest growing age segment for the month.

NAB chief economist, Alan Oster, said the share of domestic spending continues to edge higher, now controlling 75.2 per cent of total online spending.

“Despite a recent pickup in the traditional bricks and mortar retail sector, it was still outpaced by the improvement in online retail growth over the past quarter,” he said.

“Department and variety stores continue to have the largest online market share. Electronic games and toys have been expanding rapidly, albeit off a small base, while sales from daily deals have virtually collapsed.”

NAB’s consumer sectors Australia head, Peter King, said October data confirms that online sales will keep growing at a faster pace than traditional retail.

“This latest report also shows the flow of money across geographies, with three quarters of all online spending happening in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland, but the highest per capita spending coming from Canberra,” said King.

“Why does this matter? Because it’s this kind of data that can help retailers target their growth strategies.”

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