Australian online spending accelerated sharply last month

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Australian online retail sales rose strongly in February, suggesting that sales and traditional brick-and-morter retailers may have also accelerated after two months of underwhelming growth.

The NAB’s online retail sales index grew by 0.8% in seasonally adjusted terms, leaving annual growth in online spending at 10.4%. From a dollar perspective, the bank estimates that Australians spent $19.2 billion online in the 12 months to February, equating to around 6.6% of traditional retail sales seen in the year to January 2016.

According to the NAB, all retail categories sectors except Daily Deals websites (-3.1%) recorded sales that were higher than February last year.

Food Catering maintained the highest annual growth (35.6% yoy from 42.1% in January). Second highest growth category Electronic Games and Toys accelerated (35% vs 26.6%). Both of these categories still represents a relatively small share of spend. Although only 4th fastest, sales growth in fashion increased rapidly (13.6% vs 6.8%). All other categories had slower growth rates: Media (21.1% vs 23.8%), Personal and Recreational Goods (4.5% vs 10.9%), Grocery and Liquor (4.2% vs 4.7%), Homewares and Appliances (2.7% vs 3.3%), and Department & Variety Stores (2.5% vs 3.4%).

Next Monday the ABS will release its February retail sales report. After a modest decline in December and 0.3% increase in January, it will be interesting to see whether the increase in online spending is mirrored in traditional retail spending.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.