Online retail sales adds $2 billion in 12 months - NAB

30 May 2013

National Australia Bank's (NAB) latest Online Retail Sales Index released today showed Australians spent $13.5 billion in the year to April 2013, up from $11.2 billion for the same period last year.

Online sales were equivalent to 6% of traditional retail spending for the year to March 2013, up from 5.2% for the same time last year. The rate of online spending has strengthened growing at 23% year-on-year, compared to 12% year-on-year in March.

Commenting on the findings, NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster, said that there was a clear divide between two broad groups of online retailers.

"We've seen stronger growth rates over the last year in areas like Fashion, Daily Deals, Media and Games & Toys. But these faster growing sectors are comparatively small when compared with the larger sectors in the online space - areas like Department stores and Homewares and Appliances."

NAB's Retail Sector Head, Tiernan White, said the value of online sales continues to increase.

"We have seen strong growth in online spending over the past 12 months as online sales becomes a larger proportion of retail turnover. While we're seeing businesses take a multi channel approach by developing an online presence alongside a traditional storefront, growth rates among businesses remain mixed.

"However encouragingly we have seen online sales grow by over $2 billion1 in the past year, as retailers become more sophisticated in how they engage with their customers".

A number of enhancements were made to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index this quarter including doubling the number of sub-categories from four to eight, and age groups from five to six.

Commenting on the additions Mr White said: "The Index will now provide even greater clarity and insights around the structure of the online retail market than ever before."

Key findings -

Who are the big spenders? Australia's online spending continues to be dominated by those aged 35 to 44, at around a quarter of all purchases, while those aged 25 to 34 and 45 to 54 each spending around 20% of the total. The lowest share of spending is among those aged 25 and under and those aged over 65, with these age groups lagging significantly on a per capita basis.

Domestic retailers control the dominant share - Domestic retailers remain the dominant force in online retail sales, accounting for 72% of sales in April 2013. Trends in the growth rates for both international and domestic online retail sales have been fairly uniform since the start of 2012.

Regional slowly closing the gap to metro areas - Growth rates between metropolitan and regional have narrowed in recent months, but regional has generally outperformed metropolitan areas over the past two years.

Share of state spending - The strongest spending levels remain in ACT and NT followed by WA. In contrast SA, Vic and Qld continue to lag with these states well below average. Interestingly, since the start of the year there has been less distinction between the rate of growth for WA and the national average - with WA falling in line with the national average.

What are they spending on? The strongest growth rates have been in fashion, daily deal sites2, followed by media and games and toys, however these segments are comparatively small when compared to department stores (36%) and homewares and appliances (at 18%).

Share of total spend in twelve months to April 2013

1. Fashion 2. Daily Deals* 3. Department and Variety Stores 4. Homewares and Appliances 5. Media** 6. Personal and Recreational Goods 7. Groceries and Liquor 8. Games and Toys
All ages 10% 3% 36% 18% 11% 6% 14% 2%
Under 25s 19% 3% 34% 14% 16% 5% 4% 6%
25-34 12% 4% 36% 16% 12% 7% 11% 2%
35-44 9% 4% 36% 17% 10% 7% 16% 2%
45-54 8% 3% 38% 20% 9% 6% 14% 2%
55-64 5% 3% 38% 21% 8% 6% 18% 1%
65+ 3% 2% 33% 21% 7% 5% 29% 1%

Share of total spend in twelve months to April 2013

Note: Totals may not sum to 100% due to rounding

* Daily Deal sites release for sale a single product or range of products every day

** Media comprises Movies, Books and Music

View the full report here -

About the NAB Online Retail Sales Index

Based on two million non-cash transactions per day, scaled up to replicate the broad economy. The NAB Online Retail Sales Index tracks online retail spending across sectors, demographics, locations and the breakdown of goods bought from domestic and international online retailers. The index is produced monthly and analysis is provided on a quarterly basis.

About Quantium

Quantium is Australia's leading data analytics and marketing strategy firm. Quantium has worked with NAB for more than 4 years, assessing de-identified transaction data to derive insights, trends and shopping habits of different customer groups. The resulting analysis forms Market Blueprint and is used by NAB and other businesses to drive innovation and business performance through customer, distribution and marketing strategies.

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Media contacts

Elisha Vincent M: +61 (0) 429 566676

1 NAB Online Retail Sales totalled $11.2bn to 12 months to April 2012 compared to $13.5bn in year to April 2013

2 Daily Deal sites release for sale a single product or range of products every day