Online sales were up 26 per cent year-on-year in February compared to 19 per cent in January, according to National Australia Bank’s February online retail sales index.

The index showed for the 12 months ending February 2012, Australia’s total online spending was around $10.9 billion, which is around 5 per cent of the traditional bricks and mortar retail spending for the year ended 2012.

“This was counter to an observed slowing trend in growth rates across the second half of 2011, which was connected to the sharp increase in online purchases around October 2010,” NAB said

In contrast, year-on-year growth rates for bricks & mortar retailing softened in January at just 1.7 per cent.

The NAB online retail sales index rose in February 2012 to 168 points.

“This increase was particularly notable given that February 2010 and 2011 recorded little to no growth when compared with the preceding month of January. We note that this increase may be partly a function of the additional day in February due to 2012 being a leap year,” NAB said in a statement.

Other interesting observed trends in February 2012 included an increase in spending in online florists and gift shops prior to Valentine’s Day and increased spending in online bookshops ahead of the start of the first term for universities.