March 4, 2013 / 1:05 AM / in 5 years

Australia online sales growth rebounds in Jan-NAB

SYDNEY, March 4 (Reuters) - Online sales in Australia rebounded in January, a survey showed on Monday, with growth remaining far above that of the traditional bricks and mortar sector,

Annual growth in National Australia Bank’s index of online sales accelerated to 27 percent in January, from 23 percent in December. The actual index level dropped to 202.2, from 227.0, but that was entirely due to the Christmas effect in December.

“The latest index shows the continued strength in the online retail market. December might not have been as strong as it normally is, but January proved a lot more resilient than previous years,” said NAB chief economist Alan Oster.

“The increase in sales in January suggests the recent lift in consumer confidence has flowed through to some online retailers.”

The index put the value of online sales at A$13 billion ($13.3 billion) for the 12 months to January. That equals around 5.8 percent of overall retail spending and has been consistently growing far faster than sales in traditional stores.

The survey found domestic sales accounted for fully 73 percent of total online sales, a contrast to retailers complaints that most of the money was going abroad. Annual growth in domestic online sales was also faster at 28 percent.

The traditional retailing industry has been much more subdued. Official data on sales for the retail sector, which miss a lot of the online business, are due on Tuesday and only a modest increase of 0.4 percent is expected for January.

NAB, in conjunction with data analytics firm Quantium, has estimated an index of online sale based on two million non-cash transactions per day, scaled up to replicate the broad economy. (Reporting by Wayne Cole)

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