July 18, 2017

NAB Cashless Retail Sales Index: June 2017

The NAB Cashless Retail Sales Index is a new product which provides timely proprietary data on a major part of retail spending in Australia.


  •  It builds upon the NAB Online Retail Index by measuring all cashless retail spending by consumers using debit and credit cards (both in person and online), BPAY and Paypal. The index is derived from personal transaction data from NAB platforms (around 2 million transactions per day) and offers a 2-3 week lead on ABS retail trade data. Reflecting the growth of online retailing and the increasing popularity of contactless payment systems, cashless sales to consumers have been growing much more rapidly than the ABS measure of retail sales in recent years. The Reserve Bank estimates that cash payments have fallen from almost 40% to just 18% of the total value of consumer payments over the past nine years.
  • The NAB Cashless Retail Sales Index shows that the value of cashless retail spending increased at a yearly rate of 5.6% in June (in seasonally adjusted terms). Growth in cashless retail sales has continued to weaken from a peak yearly rate of over 12% in late 2015. Convergence between the NAB and ABS growth rates is likely as the penetration of contactless payment systems reaches a limit reflecting minimum spend requirements for cashless transactions and the existence of a proportion of merchants who deal only in cash. Online retail sales yearly growth spiked at 7.9% in May compared with 3.8% for ABS retail trade.
  • Within total cashless retail, the fastest yearly growth was in cafes, restaurants & takeaway (19.0%) and the weakest was in clothing & footwear (-0.9%). By state, yearly cashless retail spending growth was fastest in the ACT (7.7%), NSW (6.5%) and SA (5.9%), but weakest in WA (1.2%).
  • Based on monthly movements in the NAB cashless spending index and our data mapping techniques, ABS retail trade is expected to be broadly unchanged in seasonally adjusted terms in June.

For more information, please refer to the attached report: