Online Retail Turnover in November “Highest Level Recorded”

April Davis By April Davis | 11 Jan 2019

Australia’s latest retail turnover figures have confirmed that the sector continues to benefit from continued online pre-Christmas promotions.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), retail turnover increased by 0.4 percent in November 2018, sitting pretty at 0.1 percent higher than the previous month.

Ben Faulkner, the acting director of quarterly economy-wide surveys at the ABS noted that the highest performing shopping categories for the month, namely, clothing, footwear and personal accessories, benefitted from in-store and online sales during November.

“These industries were impacted by strong promotional activity in the November month, including Black Friday sales,” he said.

Overall, online sales contributed to 6.6 percent of total retail revenue in November 2018, up from 5.5 percent in November 2017, and from 5.9 percent in the previous month. This represents the highest ever-recorded level in the series by the ABS. The bureau also noted that strong online performance in November continues to be a pattern within the industry, as consumers are actively looking to grab a bargain long before December’s all-important shopping period begins.

This news comes after data from ShopperTrak and Citi Research indicated that in-store foot traffic over the Black Friday shopping weekend was down by an estimated eight to nine percent, with online shopping events like Click Frenzy instead luring customers online.

The Deputy CEO of the National Retailers Association, Lindsay Carroll agrees with this sentiment, saying shopping events are increasingly luring more customers online.

“Retail turnover from online sales continues to increase at a high rate and this can be attributed to the rise in popularity of events such as Click Frenzy and Cyber Monday, combined with the fact that buying online is a convenient option for many shoppers,” she said in a statement Friday afternoon.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to most as 57 percent of Australians planned to shop both in-store and online during Black Friday, while a further 37 percent intended to shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales exclusively online. Research from Criteo that was released well before Christmas also suggested that consumers would start making purchase decisions as early as October, ready to process their online transactions during November’s online sales events.

However, despite the grim outlook for December’s retail figures, especially in the bricks-and-mortar space, Russell Zimmerman, the executive director of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is confident December will still meet the organisation’s expectations of $51 billion.

“Our combined research with Roy Morgan forecasted a 2.9 percent increase in pre-Christmas sales, as we projected shoppers to spend $51 billion from retail stores across the country from November 9 to December 26, 2018,” he said.

“Based on what we have seen and heard from retailers and our members, we believe the overall Christmas trade will indicate secure growth, with many large retailers noticing growth in-store,” he continued.

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