8501.0 - Retail Trade, Australia, Oct 2016  
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APPENDIX 2 EXPERIMENTAL ESTIMATES OF CONSUMER SALES


INTRODUCTION

1 The feature article 'Coverage of Household Final Consumption Expenditure' published in Retail Trade, Australia September 2013 discussed changes in household expenditure patterns over time and describes ongoing investigations to improve coverage of Coverage of Household Final Consumption Expenditure (HFCE) in this publication.

2 With a focus on services and other categories which are outside the scope of Retail Trade the Survey of Consumer Sales was introduced and currently consists of two activity based collections; Survey of Consumer Sales - Energy Retailing and the Survey of Consumer Sales - Communication Services.

3 The Survey of Consumer Sales will provide key quarterly indicators on the performance of the Australian economy and will be an important component in the compilation of HFCE in the National Accounts. Details on the compilation of HFCE is available from Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0). Chapter 10 Gross Domestic Product - Expenditure Approach (GDP(E)) outlines the data sources and methods used in the estimation of annual and quarterly household final consumption expenditure by Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) category.

4 The Survey of Consumer Sales - Energy Retailing is considered a census of energy retailing activity. The scope excludes energy generation and energy distribution. It collects estimates for the sale of electricity and gas to consumer customers in Australia. A quarterly indicator is derived from the revenue data obtained from the service providers.

5 The Survey of Consumer Sales - Communication Services is a sample of telecommunication providers considered to be major service providers. It collects estimates for the sale of mobile services, fixed line phone services and fixed internet services to consumer customers in Australia. A quarterly indictor is derived using only the revenue data obtained from these major service providers. The revenue data is not weighted to account for the smaller providers. The indicator currently includes telephone and internet services and excludes the sale of equipment. The survey may be expanded in the future to include postal services.

6 Available in this publication are experimental estimates for Electricity Retailing, Gas Retailing and Telecommunication Services Retailing. The full time series are available from the Downloads tab of this publication on the ABS website. The Electricity and Gas retailing series commenced in June quarter 2012. The Telecommunication Services Retailing series commenced in December quarter 2012.

7 Quarterly estimates are presented in current price values. Original estimates only are available, with a view to publishing seasonally adjusted and trend estimates in the future.

8 The estimates in this appendix are considered experimental. They are subject to evaluation and should therefore be used with caution.


KEY STATISTICS

A4 CONSUMER SALES, Australia, By Type of Activity

Electricity retailing
Gas retailing
Telecommunications Services retailing
Quarter
$m
$m
$m

Original

2014
September
4 212.7
1 430.7
4 358.4
December
3 577.7
727.3
4 424.8
2015
March
3 833.6
605.5
4 366.6
June
3 980.7
1 265.4
4 369.4
September
4 252.5
1 632.6
4 422.3
December
3 925.7
921.2
4 434.3
2016
March
4 009.0
759.9
4 412.2
June
r4 250.1
r1 166.6
r4 365.2
September
4 746.9
1 624.9
4 472.1

r revised

A5 CONSUMER SALES, Australia, By Type of Activity, Percentage change from previous quarter

Electricity retailing
Gas retailing
Telecommunication Services retailing
Quarter
%
%
%

Original

2014
September
2.4
35.7
2.4
December
-15.1
-49.2
1.5
2015
March
7.2
-16.7
-1.3
June
3.8
109.0
0.1
September
6.8
29.0
1.2
December
-7.7
-43.6
0.3
2016
March
2.1
-17.5
-0.5
June
6.0
53.5
-1.1
September
11.7
39.3
2.4




TIMING OF SURVEY CYCLE

9 Surveys are conducted in respect of each quarter and returns are completed during the eight or nine week period after the end of the quarter to which the survey data relate. E.g. December quarter returns are completed during January and February.


DEFINITION OF CONSUMER SALES

10 For the purposes of this publication, "consumer sales" are the value of sales to consumer customers. A consumer customer includes households, individuals and all other customers who are not corporate, business and government customers.

11 The Survey of Consumer Sales - Energy Retailing further details a consumer customer as a residential customer who:
  • Consumes electricity and gas for domestic use;
  • Consumes below 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity annually; and
  • Consumes below 1 terajoule (TJ) of gas annually.


CLASSIFICATIONS

12 Many ABS publications are classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0). Outputs from the Survey of Consumer Sales are not classified according to ANZSIC and are instead classified by activity with reference to the Classification of Individual Consumption according to Purpose (COICOP). The aim of this classification is to survey businesses which sell services to consumers, allowing for those businesses for which the surveyed activity may be a secondary activity.

13 Energy retailing activity is defined with reference to the COICOP category "Electricity, Gas and Other fuels". Electricity retailing is the sale of electricity to consumer customers. Gas retailing is the sale of town and natural gas to consumer customers. The sale of liquefied hydrocarbons (e.g. LPG) is currently excluded, though these are included in the COICOP category for gas.

14 Telecommunication services retailing is defined with reference to COICOP category "Telephone and telefax services". Telecommunication services retailing is the sale of mobile services, fixed line phone services and fixed internet services to consumer customers.


SCOPE AND COVERAGE

15 The scope of the Energy Retailing collection is all businesses that hold a licence obtained from a regulatory body to operate as an energy retailer. Energy generation and distribution activities are outside the scope of the survey.

16 The frame used for the Energy Retailing collection is taken from a registry list of all operating energy retailers in Australia produced by the Energy Supply Association of Australia (ESAA).

17 The scope of the Communication Services collection includes those telephone and internet service providers that retail to consumer customers in Australia. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are defined as those who operate in Australia and supply internet connectivity and access services to consumer customers. Libraries, internet kiosks, internet cafes and hotspots that provide internet access on a casual basis are excluded.

18 The frame used for the Communication Services collection is drawn from the Internet Activity Survey (IAS) (cat. no. 8153.0). The population frame for this survey is produced from a list of ISPs sourced from the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman, with whom ISPs are required to register. Currently the coverage of the Communication Services collection is limited to the top size category used in the IAS, which is defined as a 'very large ISP' having 100,001 or more subscribers. Further details on the IAS frame are provided in the IAS explanatory notes.

19 The Survey of Consumer Sales aims to measure expenditure by consumer customers on services. For this reason, the estimates are broader than the income received by retailers, including for example; the Goods and Services Tax (GST), government concessions, discounts and solar rebates.


SURVEY METHODOLOGY

20 The Survey of Consumer Sales is conducted electronically on a quarterly basis and may include Government-owned and/or controlled Public Non-Financial Corporations.

21 The statistical unit used to represent each energy retailer is sourced from the ABS Business Register (ABSBR). The majority of the businesses within scope of this survey are large businesses with the statistical unit being the Type of Activity Unit (TAU). However there are a few units where the Australian Business Number (ABN) is the statistical unit and is suitable for ABS statistical needs when the business is simple in structure.

22 Service providers are asked to provide consumer sales data on an accrual basis. Where a selected unit does not respond in a given survey period, a value is estimated. If data are subsequently provided, the estimated value is replaced with the reported data. Aggregates are calculated from all the data by summing the individual unit level data. Data are edited at both individual unit level and aggregate level.

23 The Survey of Consumer Sales - Energy Retailing is based on a complete enumeration of businesses that have been identified as holding a licence to retail electricity and/or gas to consumer customers.

24 The Survey of Consumer Sales - Communication Services is based on a sampled enumeration of businesses that have been identified as active ISPs.


REVISIONS

25 The survey frame and sample are updated annually to ensure that the sample remains representative of the target population.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED AND TREND ESTIMATES

26 Original estimates only are available, with a view to publish seasonally adjusted and trend estimates in the future.


COMPARABILITY WITH NATIONAL ACCOUNTS AND OTHER ESTIMATES

27 The Survey of Consumer Sales has collected data to provide new indicators of household expenditure for categories currently outside the scope of Retail Trade. The experimental estimates presented in this publication will differ from corresponding HFCE statistics as published in Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0). More detail on the compilation of HFCE is available from Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0).

28 The Communication Services estimates presented in this publication are estimates derived from revenue data obtained from major telecommunication service providers only and include telephone and internet services only. The aggregate excludes Postal Services and the sale of equipment.

29 The experimental estimates are not comparable to the value of energy sales published in the Business Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 5676.0) and Australian Industry (cat. no. 8155.0) because the estimates within these publications are classified according to ANZSIC and do not exclude sales to business customers and government customers.


GENERAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

30 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

31 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS have other relevant data available. Enquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.