Retail Trade, Australia

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Monthly and quarterly estimates of turnover and volumes for retail businesses, including store and online sales.

Reference period
January 2022

Key statistics

The January 2022 seasonally adjusted estimate: 

  • Rose 1.8% month-on-month.
  • Rose 6.4% compared with January 2021.

An additional information release on 4 March 2022 has seen the inclusion of more detailed results for the January 2022 reference period. Additional timeseries spreadsheets have been published, including; state by industry results, state by industry sub-group results, December quarter 2021 turnover volumes, and online sales.

To understand more about changes in this issue, suspension of trend estimates, and COVID-19 in January 2022, please read the survey impacts and changes.

Turnover at current prices
Jan-2022 ($m)Dec-2021 to Jan-2022 (% change)Jan-2021 to Jan-2022 (% change)
Seasonally adjusted32,491.91.86.4

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Total retail turnover

Analysis by industry

Food retailing

Food retailing rose 2.2% ($289.0m) in January, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Household goods retailing

Household goods retailing rose 0.6% ($36.4m) in January, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing fell 1.0% (-$25.2m) in January, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Department stores

Department stores rose 4.9% ($74.5m) in January, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Other retailing

Other retailing rose 4.5% ($225.4m) in January, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services fell 0.8% (-$34.4m) in January, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Online Retailing

Total online retailing sales were $3,893.3m in January 2022, in seasonally adjusted terms. Seasonally adjusted online sales rose 7.9% ($285.6m), the first rise since the end of state lockdowns in October 2021 which led to three consecutive monthly falls. Despite recent falls. the January rise sees total online retailing turnover continue to remain elevated now at its second highest level in the series, up 28.3% ($859.2m), through the year in seasonally adjusted terms.

In January 2022, Food online sales were $1,064.5m, and Non-Food online sales were $2,828.8m, in seasonally adjusted terms. Non-Food sales predominately drove the rise in January’s total online sales, rising 11.1% ($282.5m) with a boost to discretionary online spending as consumers exercise caution amidst rising cases due to the Omicron variant. Food sales had a small rise of 0.3% ($3.1m) continuing on from last months rise as households return to grocery shopping online. 

In original terms, the proportion of online sales for Food retailing was 5.8% in January 2022, slightly up from 5.4% in December 2021. The portion of Food sales made online continues to remain high and is higher than any month prior to the Delta Outbreak in June 2021. The proportion of online sales for Non-Food retailing was 17.5% in January 2022, up from 15.4% in the month prior. Like Food, the portion of Non-Food sales made online remains elevated.

In original terms, the proportion of online sales to total retailing was 11.1% in January 2022, up from 10.5% last month.

Additional notes regarding the online sales series can be found in Methodology.

Data downloads

Tables 5 through to 23 have been made available on 4 March 2022. This includes December 2021 quarterly results for consumer sales of energy retailing and communications services. Tables 1 through to 4 remain unchanged from their release on 28 February 2022. 

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

Data Explorer datasets

The data available in Data Explorer is similar to ABS.Stat but with a new interface and added functionality.
For more information about Data Explorer and to see what's changed, see the Data Explorer user guide.

Caution: Data in Data Explorer is currently released after the 11:30am release on the ABS website. Please check the reference period when using Data Explorer.

Retail Trade, Key Statistics - Monthly retail trade estimates for Australian businesses classified by industry group, or by state and territory.

Retail Trade  - Monthly and quarterly retail trade turnover estimates for Australian businesses classified by industry group, sub group, and by state and territory.

Survey impacts and changes

The revised release schedule for Retail Trade, Australia

The ABS ceased the publication of Retail Trade, Australia, Preliminary (8501.0.55.008) following the June 2021 reference period.  Retail Trade, Australia (8501.0) has moved to the following release schedule to better accommodate data users’ needs.

Key statistics from Retail Trade, Australia are now released 20 working days following the end of the reference period. The full suite of statistics to be made available in an “Additional Information” release four business days later. 

This replaces the former release schedule where all time series spreadsheets were released approximately 24 working days following the end of the reference period.

Timing and availability of time series spreadsheets from July 2021 reference period onwards:

Main Release (i.e. key statistics)20 working days following the end of the reference period1 - 4 Monthly National Turnover
   Monthly Industry Turnover
   Monthly State Turnover
Additional Tables4 working days following the main release5 - 23Monthly State by Industry Turnover
   Monthly Sub-Group Turnover
   Monthly State by Sub-Group Turnover
   Quarterly Volumes and other quarterly statistics
   Online Sales


There are no changes to the availability of data for this publication.  Time series spreadsheet numbering and names, as well as Series IDs remain the same as previously published.

Both of the monthly releases will be based on the same source data. No additional data collection activity will occur between these times.

The ABS will continue to quality assure data between both releases. Revisions to the key statistics anticipated to be rare.

Dates for future releases are available under ‘Future releases’ from the top of this page. There are two advertised dates for each reference period. The earliest date refers to the release of Tables 1 through to 4. The later date indicates when the additional tables (5 through to 23) will be made available.

Changes in this issue

There are no revisions to the original estimates.

Suspension of trend series

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in retail activity. During the Coronavirus pandemic, this measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in retail spending that will occur. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for irregular events, they would likely provide a misleading view of underlying retail activity.

The retail trend series was therefore suspended from February 2020. It is now published only to June 2019. The trend series will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in retail.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in January

The World Health Organisation identified COVID-19 as an international health emergency on 30 January 2020.

In March 2020, nationwide regulations were introduced to encourage physical distancing which impacted the ability of businesses to trade as normal. Movement across state borders were also restricted.

Following May 2020, regulations have been implemented on a local basis in response to increased case numbers.

In March 2021, the Greater Brisbane region in Queensland saw restrictions reintroduced on 29 March. The restrictions were extended until the end of the month and ended on 1 April.

In April 2021, Perth and some regional areas of Western Australia had restrictions in place from 24 April through to 26 April.

In May 2021, Victoria was under lockdown restrictions from 28 May. These remained in place until June.

In June 2021, the Delta variant began to emerge which saw various states and territories introduce lockdown measures which were initially intended to be a temporary measure to contain the outbreak.

In July 2021, the Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong regions in New South Wales remained under stay-at-home orders for the entire month, while Victoria re-introduced lockdowns mid-month which were in place until 27 July. Other states and territories were able to avoid extended lockdowns with Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory only experiencing snap lockdowns with varying duration and timing which ended within the month.

In August 2021, the Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong regions in New South Wales remained under stay-at-home orders with various regional cities and townships placed into lockdowns. Victoria reintroduced lockdown measures in Melbourne on 5 August which remained in effect for the remainder of the month, with Regional Victoria also in lockdown at different stages. The Australian Capital Territory introduced lockdown measures on 12 August which extended to the of the month. Queensland and the Northern Territory both experienced snap lockdowns which ended within the month.

In September 2021, the Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong regions in New South Wales remained under stay-at-home orders for the entire month with several regional areas in and out of lockdowns as the month progressed. Victoria’s Melbourne metropolitan region remained under stay-at-home orders for the entire month with regional areas in and out of lockdowns as the month progressed. The Australian Capital Territory stay-at-home orders were in place for the entire month.

In October 2021, lockdown measures began to ease with stay-at-home orders ending in New South Wales on 11 October, the Australian Capital Territory on 14 October and Victoria on 21 October. Each state and territory had various restrictions attached to the end of stay-at-home orders which included a range of mask mandates, density limits and conditions based on vaccination status. Tasmania experienced a snap 3-day lockdown in the southern part of the state, including Hobart.

In November 2021 and December 2021 each state and territory experienced a wide range of restriction measures wither introduced or eased depending on the circumstances of each state or territory. The Northern Territory was the only state or territory to introduce lockdown measures

For a detailed breakdown of previous months and restrictions throughout 2021, please refer to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in December in Survey impacts and changes section of the December 2021 release.

In January 2022, the following states and territories were directly impacted by restrictions:

  • Northern Territory - multiple regions were placed into lockdown throughout the month including; Galiwin’ku from 2pm 17 January to 2pm 31 January; Yirrkala had a 72 hours lockdown starting 2pm 17 Jnauary; Gunyangara, Wurrumiyanga and Utopia from 2pm 22 January to 2pm 29 January; Milikapiti from 3pm 24 January for 72 hours which transitioned to a lock-in; Ampilatwatja from 2 pm 28 January 48 hours which transitioned to a lock-in. Multiple regions were impacted by lockout and lock-in restrictions through January including a Territory wide lockout from 1pm January 6 to midday January 10;  Yuendumu and Yuelamu lockout extended until 2pm 30 January; Amoonguna entered lockout midday January 13 ending at 2pm 20 January; Alice Springs entered lockout midday January 16 ending at 2pm 30 January; Lajamanu and surrounding homelands entered a lock-in at 5pm January 31 for seven days.

  • New South Wales - singing and dancing is not permitted at a hospitality venue, entertainment facility, nightclub, or major recreation facility from Saturday 8 January 2022 with some exemptions e.g. weddings. Changes made to close contacts rules with critical workers in the food logistics and manufacturing sectors furloughed as close contacts permitted to leave self-isolation to attend work under strict guidelines.

  • Victoria - from 11:59pm January 6, density limits of 1 person per 2 square metres applied to indoor hospitality and entertainment venues with mandatory Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) reporting introduced.

  • Queensland - from 1am January 15, domestic border restrictions were lifted.

  • South Australia - from January 27, restrictions on office density limits eased allowing 25 per cent of the workforce to return whilst Level 1 restrictions remained in place with eased density limits at hospitality venues allowing for 50 percent capacity, drinking while standing outdoors and QR code check-ins no longer required at retail venues.

  • Western Australia - the Northern Territory was elevated to ‘extreme risk’ from 12:01am January 13, with travellers from all Australian states and territories now unable to enter unless permitted an exemption. On January 20, the previously announced border re-opening for February 5 was pushed back indefinitely with no new date. From Monday 31 January proof of vaccination was expanded State-wide to new higher-risk venues including all hospitality venues etc.

  • Tasmania - baseline restrictions continue including mask-wearing indoors, a two-square-metre rule and venue capacity caps of 250 (indoors) and 500 (outdoors) outdoors ; along with limits of 100 people in the home and restrictions on unvaccinated people entering the state.

  • Australian Capital Territory - from 12pm January 8 nightclubs permitted to open as bars within the existing density limits with a ban on dancing. Patrons at cafes, bars, restaurants etc to remain seated while eating and drinking.

Differences between Retail Trade and New Experimental Economic Indicators

Monthly Business Turnover Indicator

The ABS first released the Monthly Business Turnover Indicator on Friday 15 October 2021. The first in a series of new monthly economic indicators which includes an indicator for Retail Trade.

This experimental indicator is derived from Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Business Activity Statements (BAS) turnover data from monthly BAS remitters. This differs from Retail Trade, Australia in terms of scope and coverage. Monthly BAS reporting for the Monthly Business Turnover Indicator covers businesses with GST annual turnover of $20 million or more and a proportion of smaller businesses that report monthly on a voluntary basis. The turnover estimates in Retail Trade, Australia are compiled from the monthly Retail Business Survey. About 700 'large' businesses are included in the survey every month, while a sample of about 2,700 'smaller' businesses is selected. The 'large' business' contribution of approximately 69% of the total estimate ensures a highly reliable Australian total turnover estimate.

Retail Trade for the Monthly Business Turnover Indicator is aligned strictly to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006. This includes Fuel and motor vehicle retailing but excludes Cafes, restaurants and takeaways. Retail Trade, Australia does include Cafes, restaurants and takeaways, but does not include Fuel and motor vehicle retailing.

For further information see Monthly Business Turnover Indicator, Methodology.

Monthly Household Spending Indicator

The ABS first released the Monthly Household Spending Indicator on Tuesday 22 February 2022.

The experimental Monthly Household Spending Indicator is derived using aggregated, de-identified banks transactions data from some of Australia’s banking and financial institutions.

The ABS transforms the banks transactions data in order to derive the Monthly Household Spending Indicator. As this data is not designed for statistical purposes, its scope varies from Australian National Accounts concept of household final consumption expenditure (HFCE) and the Retail Trade turnover estimates for retail businesses.

The primary difference between the Retail Trade Survey and the household spending indicator is scope. The Retail Trade Survey focusses on measuring turnover, from sole traders and businesses across the Retail industry that predominantly sell to households. The Household spending indicator is recorded at the point of transaction on goods and services across all relevant industries, not just retail, to track a broader range of consumer spending.

For more information on how the Retail Trade Survey and new experimental monthly household spending indicator differ please see Comparison with Retail Trade and Monthly Household Spending Indicator, Methodology.

Post release changes

04/03/2022 - As advertised in the main release of this publication on 28 February 2022, the time series spreadsheets for tables 5 through to 23 are now available under the Data Downloads section. This includes:

  • January monthly results for State by Industry Subgroup, Completely Enumerated (large) and Sample (small) businesses, and Online Retail Turnover. 
  • December quarter 2021 results, available in tables 5 through to 10. These results have been published previously.
  • December quarter 2021 results for consumer sales of energy retailing and communications services.

In addition, an online retailing section has been added to this publication, which shows the most up-to-date online retail sales.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8501.0.


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