While for most parts, the retail sector is doing it tough, online sales trend continue to remain robust as it was up +22 per cent year-on-year in August, according to the National Australia Bank online retail sales index.

This level is slightly softer than in July (+25 per cent), but stronger than the period from March to June this year. Growth in August 2011 was marginally stronger, at +28 per cent year on-year. This indicated that growth rates for online sales have strengthened over the past quarter, after relative weakness earlier in 2012.

In August 2012, Australians spent a total of $11.9 billion in online retail sales. This figure is equivalent to 5.4 per cent of traditional bricks & mortar retail spending (excluding cafés, restaurants and takeaway food) for the year ended July 2012.

The NAB Online Retail Sales Index moved higher to 210 points in August 2012, up from 200 points in July. It continues to trend higher, with lower volatility in recent months.

Meanwhile, traditional sales slowed in July – down to +1.6 per cent year-on-year (non-seasonally adjusted), compared with +4.9 per cent in June.

According to NAB, the growth in online retail has influenced other sectors – most notably transport. According to a recent article around 70 per cent of parcels Australia Post delivers are generated by online transactions.