Growth, inflation and labour market all easing
The NAB Online Retail Sales Index slowed (40.7% y/y).
Growth was flat for the NAB Online Retail Sales Index in February (0.1%), from revised growth in January (3.9%), on a month-on-month, seasonally adjusted basis.
NAB Chief Economist, Alan Oster commented:
In month-on-month terms, our NAB Online Retail Sales Index was flat in February, after strong growth in January which outpaced overall retail trade growth. When comparing this February to 2020, i.e. in year-on-year terms, the index continues to grow strongly, just under the pace set between April and November (50% to 60%). It is worth noting however, that in coming months, the year-on-year growth metric will be impacted by the base effects of the initial online spike of March and April 2020. An element of caution and perspective is advised when interpreting the year-on year results over the next few months.
We continue to observe shifts in the relative category share in the index. Games and Toys now represents about 8.9% of the total, adding over a full percentage point in the past year. In 2012, this category was about 5% of the index. For media, its share in the index is now smaller, not helped this month by a large contraction.
All states recorded growth in fashion, and games and toys, but state results were mixed for all other categories. Most states saw a contraction in spend on grocery and liquor, but notably, the circuit breaker states, VIC and WA, recorded growth, along with NT. For NSW and ACT, falls were recorded in most other sectors, particularly large sales categories, homewares and appliance, grocery and liquor, and personal and recreational, which contributed heavily to their monthly result.
As expected, strong online retail sales growth was recorded in the states with the short ‘circuit breaker’ lockdowns (VIC and WA). This is in stark contrast to total retail trade preliminary February numbers from the ABS, where the instore component for these states is likely to have resulted in a sales growth contraction. For online, the sales growth in these states was netted by a contraction in some other states, particularly NSW and QLD. By region in February, it was metro NSW and QLD which clearly impacted the overall metro result, outweighing strong growth in VIC and TAS. For regional areas, WA has recorded two very strong months of growth, following on from a contraction in December. Over the year though, metro areas are still outpacing regional, led by VIC.
For further details, please see the NAB Online Retail Sales Index February 2021
© National Australia Bank Limited. ABN 12 004 044 937 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 230686.