After a spike in February, growth in online sales eased in March, according to the National Australia Bank Online Retail Sales Index.

The Index reported that online sales were up 19 per cent year-on-year and is in line with trends from the last six months. It rose to 182 points in March 2012 – from 153 points in March 2011.

“While this rate of growth is considerably lower than the level in March 2011 of 39 per cent year-on-year, it remains around trend levels for the last six months. To the extent that annual growth rates help to offset seasonal factors, the online index shows no sign of a sustained kick up in the underlying growth in online spend,” NAB said.

For the 12 months ending March 2012, Australia’s total online spending was around $11 billion. This level is equivalent to 5.1 per cent of traditional bricks and mortar retail spending (excluding cafés, restaurants and takeaway food) for the year ended February 2012. After seasonal adjustment, bricks and mortar slowed a little – with growth of 1.6 per cent versus 2.2 per cent in January.

“We observed an interesting spike in the latest data at a sub-sector level – and in particular electronics sales. This was likely related to the growth of tablet sales, with March coinciding with the release of various new products, including Apple’s new iPad,” NAB said.