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Appliances Push Oz Online Retail Sales Growth To Record

The NAB Online Retail Sales Index surged in April to the highest recorded monthly growth rate in the series (since 2012) – notching 16.2% month-on-monthly [seasonally adjusted], following an appliances and homewares boom during the coronavirus pandemic.

In year-on-year terms, the Online Retail Sales Index soared 58.5% in April, the highest YoY growth rate comparison in the series’ history.

All eight categories jumped month-on-month, with the homewares and appliances category growing at a slightly faster pace than the broader index.

Monthly online retail sales growth was driven by domestic online retailers, with international merchants lagging. 

“In an ordinary month, growth recorded by international retailers would itself be viewed as strong, but in April, domestic retailers recorded exceptional, double-digit growth,” states NAB Chief Economist, Alan Oster.

In the twelve months to April, NAB estimates Australians spent $34.27 billion on online retail, around 10.4% of the total retail trade estimate (preliminary April 2020 ABS), and 19.5% higher than the previous corresponding 12 month period.



Sales in regional growth areas was slightly stronger relative to metro areas in month-on-month terms. Regional growth was driven by VIC and NSW.

All states and territories notches online sales growth month-on-month, lead by TAS. In year-on-year rearms, all states recorded double digit growth, with VIC leading the charge.

Similar growth rates have been recorded in overseas comparisons,” adds Mr Oster.

“The Office of National Statistics in the UK, for example, reports that online grew at 15.8% in the month”

“With the rapid growth in the series, and slowing in overall ABS retail estimates, online as a proportion of total retail sales is now 10.4% of all sales, up from 9.7% a month prior.”

Australia’s three most populous states contributed over 80% of all online sales during the month, slightly above their share of the population. 


The NAB Online Retail Sales Index measures all online retail spending by consumers using several electronic payment methods including credit cards, BPAY and PayPal.

The index is derived from personal transaction data from NAB platforms and is scaled up to be representative of the Australian economic using scalars from the ABS’ Estimated Resident Population and RBA payments data.

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