Australians Are Shopping More At Local Websites As The Dollar Weakens

Photo: Stefan Postles/Getty Images

The online spending habits of Australians is changing as the Australian dollar, for so long strong against the US currency, weakens.

Domestic online sales expanded by 14.4% while international sales only grew by 4.7%, as the Aussie dollar has weakened over the last year, says National Australia Bank’s (NAB) latest Online Retail Sales Index.

Overall, domestic retailers command the majority of market share, attracting 75.2% of total online spending in October.

Australians spent a record $16.2 billion online in the year to October 2014, up 11.9% on the previous year.

When the Australian dollar depreciates (making overseas goods relatively expensive), the share of international spending tends to fall.

During late 2010, as the Australian dollar appreciated sharply, the share of international purchases spiked as well.

International spending stabilised around 27% in 2011 and 2012, before declining again in early 2013 as the Australian dollar depreciated.

By sector, at 43.9%, electronic games and toys had the fastest overall annual online sales growth in October — 6.7% higher than the previous month.

However, this category is considerably more volatile, due to effects such as the timing of electronic game releases.

The second highest annual growth rate is now in the homewares and appliances category where sales expanded by 22.1% annually and 4.7% monthly.

NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster said traditional bricks and mortar retail sector, despite a recent pickup, is still outpaced by the improvement in online retail growth over the past quarter.

“Department and variety stores continue to have the largest online market share,” Oster said. ” “Electronic games and toys have been expanding rapidly, albeit off a small base, while sales from daily deals have virtually collapsed.”

Source: NAB

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