Online Retail Sales Index monthly update – March 2013

Online sales growth slowed in March to +15% yoy, with sales possibly impacted by the absence of new flagship tablet release. In the twelve months ending March 2013, Australian online retail purchases were $13.3 billion.

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Online sales growth slowed in March to +15% yoy, with sales possibly impacted by the absence of new flagship tablet releases.

  • In the twelve months ending March 2013, Australian online retail purchases were $13.3 billion. This level is equivalent to around 6.0% of Australia’s traditional bricks & mortar retail sector (excluding cafés, restaurants and takeaway food for a like-to-like comparison) for the year to February 2013.
  •  The NAB Online Retail Sales Index picked up a little in March – moving up to 209 points (from 193 points in February). This improvement was comparatively modest, given a weak level of spending in February.
  • Growth rates slowed significantly in March, with the year-on-year rate at just +15%. This growth rate was the second slowest recorded for our index (higher only than the +14% in May 2012). Since peaking in January at +27% yoy, growth trends for online retail have been much weaker.
  • The rate of growth for traditional bricks & mortar retail was comparatively weak in February 2013 – at just +0.9% year-on-year on a non-seasonally adjusted basis (down from +4.3% yoy in January). That said, when seasonal factors are included, growth trends improved – from +3.1% yoy to +4.4% yoy.
  • The slowing growth rate in March may have been influenced by the lack of product launches in the electronics space. Online sales were boosted in both March 2011 and March 2012 by flagship tablet releases, which did not occur this year. When these effects are removed from our data growth rates remained at similar levels to those recorded in February.

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