Retail Trade, Australia, Preliminary

This is not the latest release View the latest release

Contains preliminary monthly aggregate estimates of retail turnover in Australia

Reference period
January 2021

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 0.6% ($169.5m) from December 2020 to January 2021. 
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, Australian turnover rose 10.7% in January 2021 compared with January 2020. 
Jan-2021 ($m)Dec-2020 to Jan-2021 (% change)Jan-2020 to Jan-2021 (% change)
Seasonally Adjusted30,538.30.610.7

This release provides a preliminary estimate for Australian retail turnover for January 2021. This estimate is compiled from the monthly Retail Business Survey and is based on preliminary data provided by businesses that make-up approximately 80% of total retail turnover and is therefore subject to revision. The final monthly estimate will be published in Retail Trade, Australia (cat. no. 8501.0) on 4 March 2021.

Total retail turnover

  • Following a fall of 4.1% in December 2020, there was a 0.6% rise in January 2021. 
  • All states and territories rose, except for Queensland. NSW led the rises, up 1.0%, as Greater Sydney saw COVID-19 restrictions eased in January. 
  • Queensland saw a fall of 1.5%, with COVID-19 restrictions in Brisbane leading to falls, especially across Household goods retailing, Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, and Department stores. 
  • There were mixed results across the industries. Food retailing led the rises, up 1.8% following a 1.7% fall in December 2020. Victoria and NSW led the rises in Supermarkets, after restrictions impacted Christmas celebrations in December 2020. 
  • The rises were partially offset by falls in Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, Household goods retailing, and Department stores, which were industries impacted by a three day lockdown in Brisbane. 

Data notes

Caution should be exercised when interpreting preliminary estimates as they may be significantly different to the final published estimates. This is due to several factors:

  • Estimates are based on preliminary data provided by businesses that make-up approximately 80% of total retail turnover.
  • Where respondents have not yet provided their data, it is estimated (or 'imputed') based on previous responses or averages from similar responding units. The level of imputation in preliminary estimates is significantly higher than for final estimates.
  • The quality of imputation for preliminary releases may also be poorer than for final estimates, due to the higher level of non-response. Furthermore, historical imputes which are based on data from previous months, may not accurately reflect changes in the economy due to recent events.
  • Changes to imputation methods have been made from the March monthly release to ensure non-respondents are more accurately reflected by the responding units in the current COVID-19 environment.
  • Until February 2020 Retail Trade used the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors were re-estimated each time a new data point becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual real-world events, such as COVID-19, can distort estimates calculated using this method. From March 2020, seasonal factors are calculated using data up to and including February 2020, then projected from March 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.
  • A review of seasonality will be undertaken following the final January release on 4 March. This may lead to revisions to the seasonally adjusted series. 

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8501.0.55.008.

Back to top of the page