In month-on-month terms, our NAB Online Retail Sales Index has contracted for a seventh straight month.
NAB Chief Economist, Alan Oster commented:
In month-on-month terms, our NAB Online Retail Sales Index has contracted for a seventh straight month, and apart from the Omicron induced spike in January, the monthly change has been negative since October. These rolling monthly contractions have well and truly caught up with the year-on-year metric. But, as mentioned in July, it is worth keeping this in context. Most states during the September quarter 2021 experienced some form of lockdown.
Online sales growth in August 2021 remained elevated, boosted particularly by NSW, and VIC. To give further perspective, if we compare the current headline total, to that of the same month pre-covid (i.e. August 2022 vs August 2019), total online spend is up about 75%. This compares favourably to broader retail sales (up 26% on July 2019), indicating that while there has been weakness in year-on-year terms, the broader long-term strength of online retail remains intact. Indeed, in twelve-months-to terms, growth remains positive (9.4%). However, as much of this came from growth during the lockdown period in the third, and early fourth, quarters of 2021, we see a continuation of this moderation if the current monthly results continue.
Three clear standout categories over the past year, in terms of contribution to growth (through the year terms), have been department stores, grocery and liquor, and takeaway food. With average higher growth over the period, each of these has gained share in the index. That is, these three, that now make up about 40% share of the index, contributed just over 70% to growth over the past 12 months. In contrast, homewares and appliances, which is still the largest in share, and personal and recreational goods, contributed far less to growth than their share in the index.
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