Online spending hits a record $16b

Australians spent a record $16 billion shopping online in the past year, with the weaker dollar ensuring more of that money stays in our own backyard.

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Online retail sales rose 11.9 per cent in the year to October, figures from National Australia Bank on Wednesday show.

Most of that increase came from domestic online sales, courtesy of the lower Australian dollar, which has fallen 10 US cents since early September.

Domestic online sales lifted 14.4 per cent while international sales only rose 4.7 per cent.

In October, domestic retailers attracted more than 75 per cent of total online spending.

“There’s a strong correlation between currency movement and our country’s appetite for international retail wares,” NAB head of consumer sectors Peter King said.

“The depreciation of the Aussie dollar since December 2013 has ushered in a strong domestic bias as international prices have escalated.

“And it’s hard to imagine this trend changing any time soon based on market sentiment towards the currency.”

The figures showed that Canberrans, on a per capita basis, were the most dedicated online shoppers, followed by the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

“Why does this matter? Because it’s these kinds of data that can help retailers target their growth strategies,” Mr King said.

“Our October data confirm what we anticipated last quarter – that online sales will keep growing at a faster pace than traditional retail.”

In the year to October, Australians spent an estimated $16.2 billion on online retail, which is worth about 6.8 per cent of the $237 billion spent in traditional bricks and mortar stores in the year to September, the report said.

Official retail trade figures will be released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday and are expected to show a 0.1 per cent lift in spending in October.

A BREAKDOWN OF HOW WE SHOP ONLINE

* Department and variety stores – 34 pct

* Homewares and appliances – 17 pct

* Groceries and liquor – 15 pct

* Media – 12 pct

* Fashion – 11 pct

* Personal and recreational goods – 6 pct

* Daily deals – 3 pct

* Electronic games and toys – 2 pct

Source: NAB