Online sales remain strong as people return to physical stores

Thursday 2 December 2021

Online retail sales remain strong year on year, despite customers returning to physical stores in droves after the Delta lockdowns, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Online purchases reached $4.1 billion in October. Whilst this is down 3.4% on the previous month, as people headed back to the shops in NSW, Victoria and the ACT, online sales are up 33.8% compared to October 2020.

Non-food online sales wreport-progress-annually-by-publishing-against-your-targets-on-a-public-platformere just over $3 billion in October – an increase of 38.5% compared to the same time last year. Online food sales in October were just over $1 billion – an increase of 21.7% compared to October 2020.

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said online sales represented 13.2% of total retail spending in October, following last month’s record high of 15.3%

“It’s no surprise to see a slight drop in the proportion of online spending for October, given the Delta lockdowns came to an end in NSW, Victoria and the ACT and people returned to physical stores. The overall trend though for online sales remains incredibly strong, up 33.8% compared to the same time last year,” Mr Zahra said.

“We’re continuing to see a lot of pent-up demand for shopping across Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra with people back out and about in great numbers supporting their local businesses, which is great to see. We’re coming off a record-breaking Black Friday, with sales exceeding $8 billion according to NAB – well above expectations.

“This has provided retailers with strong momentum leading up to Christmas – the busiest time of year on the retail calendar, when most discretionary stores make up to two thirds of their profits.

“Despite the lurking threat of Omicron, we’re encouraged to see state and territory leaders stay committed to their reopening plans. The delayed return of international students and skilled migrants is disappointing, but not surprising, so staff shortages will remain a challenge for businesses going forward.

“We have to learn to live with the virus, and it’s variants, and manage things in a responsible way without devastating businesses and livelihoods. If severe restrictions are reintroduced on retail, it would derail our recovery, just when the sector is getting its mojo back.”

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.