Australian shoppers spent nearly $21 billion online in the past year -- here's where and what they're buying

Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Australian online retail sales topped $20 billion in the past 12 months, according to new research from the National Australia Bank.

In the year to September, the bank estimates that online spending rose to $20.8 billion, accounting for around 7% of the dollar value of retail sales at traditional bricks-and-mortar stores.

From a year earlier, online spending increased by 14.2% in percentage terms, above the 12.9% level of a year ago but down on the all-time peak of 31.6% seen in September 2011.

Still rapid but slowing, something the NAB puts down to “the online retail sector’s maturity as well as the weaker Australian dollar”.

By location, sales within Australia grew by 15% over the past year, outpacing that at overseas retailers which increased by a slower 11%.

Here are just some of the other interesting tidbits to come from the NAB’s Online Retail Sales Report:

  • By sector: Demand for media and takeaway food continues to dominate online spending growth. At 41.1% (year on year), takeaway food had the fastest annual online sales growth in September.
  • By age: In the month, growth was fastest for those aged 65+ (2.1%), with this age cohort favouring online spend on food and liquor. Growth has also accelerated for the 18-24s, with spending patterns in this age demographic dominated by fashion (21.6%) and media (20.2%).
  • By state: Over the past year, the contribution to growth in online spending has shifted back towards the eastern states. Around 76% of total online spending in the past year was made by residents in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. However on a per capita basis, residents in ACT, NT, WA and NSW spent more than the national average.

And if you prefer to visualise the trends being seen in the sector, these two infographics from the NAB are chock-full of information.

This one breaks down online sales by location and size of retailer, among others:

And this looks at sales by category, age and location, breaking down the figures by local and international retailers.

Australia’s retail sales report for September, including quarterly volumes which feeds into household consumption in Australian GDP, will be released on Friday, November 4.

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