Online Retail Sales Index: March 2012

The NAB Online Retail Sales Index provides key insights into online spending in the retail goods space, capturing domestic and […]

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The NAB Online Retail Sales Index provides key insights into online spending in the retail goods space, capturing domestic and international trends, as well as regional and age demographic trends. It’s a unique tool based on up to 2 million non-cash transactions per day, scaled up to replicate the broader economy.

Growth in online sales eased in March (vs. spike in Feb) – up by 19% yoy – in line with trends from last 6 months

  • For the 12 months ending March 2012, Australia’s total online spending was around $11 billion. This level is equivalent to 5.1% of traditional bricks & mortar retail spending (excluding cafés, restaurants and takeaway food) for the year ended February 2012.
  • The NAB Online Retail Sales Index rose to 182 points in March 2012 – up from 153 points in March 2011.
  • In dollar terms, online spending grew by around 19 per cent year on year in March 2012. While this rate of growth is considerably lower than the level in March 2011 (39% yoy), it remains around trend levels for the last 6 months. To the extent that annual growth rates help to offset seasonal factors, the online index shows no sign of a sustained kick up in the underlying growth in online spend.
  • Of course, online sales growth remains much stronger than traditional retail bricks & mortar retail – which recorded year-on-year growth of 5.1% in February (on a non-seasonally adjusted basis), however this may be related to the additional day in the month, due to 2012 being a leap year (we saw a similar spike in growth rates in February for online sales). After seasonal adjustment, bricks & mortar slowed a little – with growth of 1.6% (vs. 2.2% in January).
  • We observed an interesting spike in the latest data at a sub-sector level – and in particular electronics sales. This was likely related to the growth of tablet sales, with March coinciding with the release of various new products, including Apple’s new iPad.

For further analysis download the full report.