online retail sales


Australians spent an estimated $22.74 billion on online retail in the past year, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index.

This is equivalent to around 7.4 per cent of the bricks-and-mortar retail sector, which totalled $306.9 billion in the year to May 2017.

In year-on-year terms, online sales grew by 7.6 per cent, down slightly from the 8.2 per cent year-on-year growth rate in May.

This is much slower than growth recorded in previous years. For example, in June 2011 year-on-year growth was around 34 per cent.

Homewares and appliances, electronic games and toys, and media led monthly growth, while fashion, grocery and liquor, and takeaway food contracted.

online shopping

Courtesy of NAB.

However, according to NAB’s Richard Coath, the negative growth in fashion, the first since the index began, needs further analysis.

“We believe this apparent slump may not be a fair representation of the sector,” he said. “In all likelihood the emergence of ‘buy now pay later’ brands is temporarily skewing the numbers.”

Domestic vs international

Despite fears about competition from international players, domestic retailers still capture the majority of Australian online spending. In June, nearly 80 per cent of spending was domestic.

Domestic retailers dominate groceries, personal and homewares are areas, while international retailers saw strong growth in department stores and fashion, both of which contracted for their domestic counterparts.

online retail salesAge groups

Online spending remains dominated by those aged between 35 and 44. This age group makes up approximately 17 per cent of the adult population, but their share of online spend is the highest at 24 per cent.

In contrast, over 65s make up 19.3 per cent of the population and only 8.5 per cent of online spend.

Young Australians aged 18 to 24 make up much more of the share of international online retail sales than they do domestically. They make up 11.4 per cent of the domestic spend but 18.5 per cent of the international.

Those aged 25-343 represent the largest share of international spend, at 22.3 per cent.

States and territories

Residents of the bigger eastern states of NSW, Vic and QLD spent the most online. In fact, just over 77 per cent of total online spending in the past year came from these states, whose combined population accounts for same proportion of the Australian total.


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