Australians Have Stopped Spending Online With Digital Retail Sales Growth At An Historic Low

A Christmas tree display made from Lego at Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall. Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Evaporating consumer confidence has spread to Australia’s digital world where online retailers, who normally enjoy robust growth compared to their bricks and mortar colleagues, saw a fall in sales last month.

The NAB Online Retail Sales Index shows a considerable slowdown in November, with sales falling 0.2% compared to October and annual growth now only 3.9%.

This is the slowest growth rate in the history of the index and follows a recent growth surge, with year on year growth from June to October averaging 11%.

The latest numbers are even lower than bricks and mortar sales growth. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows growth at comparable traditional retailers in October to be 0.7% higher than September, and 6.1% higher than a year ago.

Source: NAB

In dollar terms, Australians spent an estimated $16.3 billion on online retail in the 12 months to November 2014.

Despite the general slowdown, Electronic Games and Toys was up 39.4% although this segment accounts for only 3% of spend.

Other growth areas included Media (8.7%), Groceries and Liquor (7.4%), Fashion (6.2%) and Department and Variety stores (4%).

One of the largest spend segments, Homewares and Appliances, fell 3.1%.

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