September 28, 2023

NAB Online Retail Sales Index: August 2023

On a month-on-month, seasonally adjusted basis, growth contracted in August

• On a month-on-month, seasonally adjusted basis, growth contracted in August (-1.4%), following on from a revised July contraction (-0.1%).

• In year-on-year terms, growth accelerated in August (7.5% y/y), but this is compared to a period of contraction the year prior, so some caution should be applied given base effects.

• Broad contraction in August by category, with the exception of takeaway food, and grocery and liquor. Department stores, which recorded strong growth in July, reversed some of that gain in August. Another strong contraction for homewares and appliances, with fashion, and personal and rec goods also weakening. In year-on-year terms, all categories except homewares and appliances recorded growth. For more detail, see charts 3, 5, 7 & 8 and table 3 below.

• Results were mixed by state this month. The three largest sales states, VIC, NSW, and QLD contracted this month, with VIC faring much worse than the overall. By contrast, after a large drop in July, SA rebounded, along with the NT, while WA continued to record growth, albeit slower than the month prior. In year-on-year terms, all states except TAS recorded growth, with WA and NT leading. See charts 4, 6, 9-14, and table 3 for more detail.

• Regional areas fared slightly better than metro areas in the month, albeit both recorded a contraction. In year-on-year terms, metro areas recorded stronger growth, but this is a comparison made to a period a year prior where metro area growth was weaker than regional areas. See Charts 15 and 16 for more detail.

• Both domestic and international retailers recorded a contraction in the month, with the latter performing worse. In year-on-year terms, growth for international has outpaced domestic. See charts 13 and 14, and table 4 for category growth and share.

• NAB estimates that in the 12 months to August, Australians spent $54.02 billion on online retail, a level that is around 12.8% of the total retail trade estimate (July 2023, Series 8501, Australian Bureau of Statistics), and a contraction (-1.9%) relative to the 12 months to August 2022.


Get all the insights in the NAB Online Retail Sales Index (August 23)