A further slowing in growth
NAB Online Retail Sales Index growth contracted in July.
• On a month-on-month, seasonally adjusted basis, growth contracted in July (-0.2%), following on from a revised, significantly milder June contraction (-0.4%).
• In year-on-year terms, growth accelerated in July (6.3% y/y), but this is compared to a period of contraction the year prior, so some caution should be applied given base effects.
• Mixed results by category in July, with rapid acceleration for department stores, a strong contraction for homewares and appliances, and more moderate results for all other categories. Over the past couple of months there has been some noticeable weakness in grocery and liquor, personal and recreational goods, and clothing. In year-on-year terms, this has had impact particularly on grocery and liquor. For more detail, see charts 3, 5, 7 & 8 and table 3 below.
• Similarly, results were also mixed by state this month. The two largest sales states, VIC and NSW, contracted this month, along with SA and NT, albeit the latter two recorded growth in June counter to the overall. By contrast, the other large sales states, QLD, and WA recorded strong growth. In year-on-year terms, there is clear base effects contributing to the rebound for NSW and VIC, while the result for WA looks to be based on stronger activity over the past three months. See charts 4, 6, 9-14, and table 3 for more detail.
• Metro areas generally fared better in the month, with regional areas contracting. In year-on-year terms, regional areas were also outpaced this month by metro areas. See Charts 15 and 16 for more detail.
• Domestic retailers recorded a contraction in the month, while international retailers recorded growth. 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 July, Australians spent $53.67 billion on online retail, a level that is around 12.7% of the total retail trade estimate (June 2023, Series 8501, Australian Bureau of Statistics), and a contraction (-4.1%) relative to the 12 months to July 2022.
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