Online December sales dip along with bricks and mortar retail sales

Online December sales dip along with bricks and mortar retail sales
Joel RobinsonDecember 7, 2020

Australian retail turnover fell 0.4 percent in December 2018, according to the latest Retail Trade figures from the ABS.

The Christmas decline follows a 0.5 percent rise in November 2018.

Online retail turnover contributed 5.6 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms in December 2018, down from 6.6 per cent in November 2018, highlighting the increasing importance of the November month for online sales.

In December 2017 online retail turnover contributed 4.8 per cent to total retail.

Westpac's Matthew Hassan said the results underscore weakness already apparent in the Q3 national accounts and point to disappointing momentum heading into 2019.

"The 0.4% dip in monthly sales was against market expectations of a flat finish," Hassan noted.

"The rising popularity of ‘Black Friday’ sales is drawing more retail sales into Oct-Nov.

Hassan said at 2.8% a year, annual growth in nominal retail sales is sluggish at best with the six month annualised pace below 2%. 

"Overall this was a weak update, slightly weaker than we had been anticipating and highlighting downside risks to the December quarter GDP.

"For the RBA it comes on top of a Q3 national accounts update that already showed disappointing conditions across the consumer and confirms that the weakness is sustained rather than part of the choppy quarter to quarter profile that has featured over the previous two years."

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Online December sales dip along with bricks and mortar retail sales
Source: ABS

The declines in December were the highest for household goods (-2.8 per cent) and clothing and footwear (-2.4 per cent).

There were also falls in Department stores (-1.1 per cent) and other retailing (-0.1 per cent).

The falls were partially offset by rises in food retailing (0.5 per cent) and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.1 per cent).

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in New South Wales (-0.6 per cent), Victoria (-0.5 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (-1.8 per cent), Queensland (-0.1 per cent), South Australia (-0.3 per cent), the Northern Territory (-0.3 per cent), and Tasmania (-0.2 per cent.).

The only state to have a rise in December 2018 was Western Australia (0.1 per cent). 

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in December 2018, following a rise of 0.2 per cent in November 2018. Compared to December 2017, the trend estimate rose 3.2 per cent.



Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and the economics and finance behind buying and selling real estate.

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