Australia's small business tax break is driving a boom in online spending

Aussie online shoppers spent a whopping $9.3 billion online in the first six months of this year, a staggering 21.5% increase compared to the same period last year, the latest payments startup eWay report shows.

It looks like the Federal government’s immediate tax write-off of up to $20,000 for business equipment, announced in the budget, drove a big increase in the amount of office supplies bought in the first half of 2015, with the category jumping 57.7% compared to last year. Online sales between May and June alone were up 21.7% year-on-year.

“The spike seems to be related to the new Federal Budget, allowing small businesses to claim instant tax deductions of up to $20,000, which also removed fringe benefits taxes on electronic company equipment,” eWAY Founder and CEO, Matt Bullock, said. “We saw an exponential growth in office supplies online sales during the first six months of the year, with sales climbing up especially in June.”

The NAB online retail index is the market benchmark for online retail spend and it showed Australians spent $17.1 billion on online retail in the 12 months to May 2015. But eWay has picked up in a surge in spending over recent weeks.

This chart shows online sales for the full financial year, including the jump in June.

This chart shows the jump in office equipment sales for the end of the financial year.

eWay, which processes about a quarter of online payments in Australia, estimates the total online spend in Australia for FY15 was $18.3 billion.

Also bolstering online sales was the dropping Aussie dollar compared to the US dollar, with the number of international delivery postcodes increasing by more than a third in the first half of the year.

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