Online retail sees highest growth on record in April: NAB

Grocery delivery service for elderly in quarantine at Covid-19 Coronavirus epidemic

Amid store closures and self-isolating customers, online retail saw the largest month-on-month growth in the history of NAB’s online retail sales index in April. 

Growing 16.2 per cent on what was seen in March, and 58.5 per cent on April 2019, NAB recorded sales growth in all eight categories.

“In the month, growth was strongest for the smallest sales category, takeaway food, which returned to growth after contracting in March,” NAB chief economist Alan Oster said. 

“It seems that online activity by category has moved somewhat in phases over the past three months, initially led by strong growth in grocery and liquor as panic buying took hold. While that category continues apace, a focus on home improvement and working from home were clear gains in March and April.”

Source: NAB Online Retail Sales Index April 2020

The figures released by NAB, as well as PayPal and the ABS, point to a strong month for online sales in April. 

However, with the easing of lockdown measures taking place nationwide it remains to be seen whether or not consumers will be quick to return to a business-as-usual shopping experience – something that has given online fashion a boost after months of below average performance.

On a month-to-month basis domestic online fashion grew by 25.6 per cent, while international fashion only grew by 4.3 per cent likely due to border shutdowns.

“Sales at domestic retailers considerably outpaced their international competition,” Oster said.

“The three most populous states represent just over 80 per cent of all online sales, slightly above their share of the population. Of these three states, online sales growth in Victoria and NSW grew most rapidly, with the smaller spend share state Tasmiania leading overall growth.”

Source: NAB Online Retail Sales Index April 2020

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