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Retail Trade, Australia

Monthly and quarterly estimates of turnover and volumes for retail businesses. Includes store and online sales by Australian retail businesses

Reference period
June 2020
Released
4/08/2020

Key statistics

  • The trend series has been suspended from February 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 2.7%.

Main features

June key figures

 June 2020May 2020 to June 2020
$m% change
Turnover at current prices  
 Trend
na
na
 Seasonally Adjusted
29 759.5
2.7
na not available
 
 June Qtr 2020March Qtr 2020 to June Qtr 2020
$m% change
Turnover in volume terms  
 Trend
na
na
 Seasonally Adjusted
77 969.6
-3.4
na not available
 
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June key points

Current prices

  • Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on retail trade the trend series has been suspended from February 2020.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 2.7% in June 2020. This follows a rise of 16.9% in May, and a fall of 17.7% in April 2020.
  • The following industries rose in seasonally adjusted terms in June 2020: Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (27.9%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (20.5%), Food retailing (0.9%), and Other retailing (0.3%). Department stores (-12.1%), and Household goods retailing (-3.2%) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in June 2020.
  • The following states and territories rose in seasonally adjusted terms in June 2020: New South Wales (3.7%), Victoria (4.1%), Western Australia (2.5%), South Australia (1.3%), Tasmania (4.0%), Queensland (0.4%), and the Australian Capital Territory (3.8%). The Northern Territory (-4.9%) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in June 2020.
     

Volume measures

  • In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Australian turnover fell 3.4% in the June quarter 2020.
     

Changes in this issue

There are no revisions to the original estimates.

This issue includes updated online retail turnover estimates for the June 2020 reference month and updated per capita turnover for the June quarter 2020. The estimates are provided and explained in the appendix section of this publication.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) commenced daily situation reports of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on 21 January 2020 and identified it as an international health emergency on 30 January. From 1 February, the Australian Government placed travel restrictions on those travelling to Australia from mainland China and restrictions on inbound tourism have remained in place. In March, regulations to encourage social distancing saw further impacts on the ability of businesses to trade as normal. This included restrictions on dining-in at restaurants and restrictions on the number of people that could be in a shop at a particular time. Restrictions were eased gradually in May and June 2020, although a number of restrictions remain.

Suspension of trend series

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in retail activity. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in retail spending that will occur during this time, as certain businesses are restricted from trading for example. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this irregular event, they would likely provide a misleading view of underlying retail activity.

It may be some time before the underlying trend in retail activity can be accurately estimated. The retail trend series has therefore been suspended as at February 2020. The trend series will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in retail.

Time series data

  • Data available from the Data downloads section of this issue on the ABS website include longer time series of tables in this publication:
  • Monthly retail turnover by state and 15 industry subgroups in trend, seasonally adjusted and original terms
  • Monthly retail turnover completely enumerated and sample sectors, by six industry groups and also by state in original terms
  • Monthly retail turnover completely enumerated sector, total level in trend, seasonally adjusted and original terms
  • Quarterly retail chain volume measures by six industry groups and also by state in trend, seasonally adjusted and original terms
  • Quarterly retail turnover per capita in trend, seasonally adjusted and original terms
  • Quarterly sales to households by selected service industries in original terms
  • Quarterly measures of total retail turnover per capita.
     

Analysis - total retail

Total retail - monthly

The chart below shows the trend series to January 2020, and the seasonally adjusted series to June 2020. Note, the trend series has been suspended.

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Australian turnover rose 2.7% in June 2020, following a rise of 16.9% in May, and a fall of 17.7% in April 2020.

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Total retail - quarterly

In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for the June quarter 2020 fell 3.4%. This follows a rise of 0.7% in the March quarter 2020, and a rise of 0.5% in the December quarter 2019.

In the June quarter 2020, the seasonally adjusted estimate fell in volume terms for Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-29.1%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-22.0%), Food retailing (-1.6%), and Other retailing (-0.7%). Household goods retailing (14.6%), and Department Stores (0.1%) rose in seasonally adjusted terms in the June quarter 2020.

The Implicit Price Deflator for Australian turnover rose 1.2% in seasonally adjusted terms in the June quarter 2020.

Total retail - by state

The following states and territories rose in seasonally adjusted terms in June 2020: New South Wales (3.7%), Victoria (4.1%), Western Australia (2.5%), South Australia (1.3%), Tasmania (4.0%), Queensland (0.4%), and the Australian Capital Territory (3.8%). The Northern Territory (-4.9%) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in June 2020.

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In the June quarter 2020, the seasonally adjusted estimate fell in volume terms in the following states and territories: Victoria (-7.0%), New South Wales (-3.6%), Queensland (-1.8%), Tasmania (-2.5%), the Australian Capital Territory (-1.7%), and South Australia (-0.4%). Western Australia (0.2%), and the Northern Territory (1.3%) rose in seasonally adjusted volume terms in the June quarter 2020.

Analysis by industry

Food retailing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Food retailing rose 0.9% in June 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Supermarkets and grocery stores (1.6%), and Other specialised food retailing (0.6%), and fell for Liquor retailing (-3.6%).

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To enhance the understanding of the economic impacts of COVID-19, scanner data was used to conduct analysis on supermarkets and grocery store spending. In original terms, turnover fell for Non-perishable goods (-3.7%), Perishable goods (-3.6%) and All other products (-1.4%) in June 2020 compared to May 2020, in original terms. Despite the month-on-month falls, spending increased towards the end of the month, particularly for non-discretionary items following increases in the number of national COVID-19 cases.

Household goods retailing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Household goods retailing fell 3.2% in June 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate fell for Hardware, building and garden supplies retailing (-5.6%), and Electrical and electronic goods retailing (-4.4%), and rose for Furniture, floor coverings, houseware and textile goods retailing (2.3%).

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Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing rose 20.5% in June 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Clothing retailing (23.6%), and Footwear and other personal accessory retailing (14.3%).

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Department stores

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Department stores fell 12.1% in June 2020.

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Other retailing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Other retailing rose 0.3% in June 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Other retailing n.e.c. (1.7%), and Newspaper and book retailing (4.2%), and fell for Pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletry goods retailing (-1.3%), and Other recreational goods retailing (-1.9%).

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Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services rose 27.9% in June 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Cafes, restaurants and catering services (59.3%), and Takeaway food services (6.4%).

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Original estimates for large and small retailers

The original estimate for chains and other large retailers fell 1.3% in June 2020. The original estimate for smaller retailers rose 9.6% in June 2020. Comparing sales to the same period last year, the sales for smaller business continue to lag behind the larger businesses. This difference was exacerbated during the COVID-19 outbreak, in part because smaller businesses make up a large proportion of the Cafes, restaurants and takeaway services industry which has been the hardest hit retail industry during this period.

Supplementary COVID-19 analysis - supermarket spending

Additional data analysis of supermarket and grocery store spending

To enhance the understanding of the economic impacts of COVID-19, scanner data was used to conduct analysis on supermarkets and grocery store spending.

For the purpose of this analysis, supermarket products were split into three categories. Perishable goods contain fresh food items such as fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy. Non-perishable goods contain food items with a long shelf life such as flour, sugar, canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned and dry mix soups, confectionary and long-life milk products. All other products contain non-food items such as cleaning products, medicinal products, toiletries and toilet paper.

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Turnover fell for Non-perishable goods (-3.7%), Perishable goods (-3.6%) and All other products (-1.4%) in June 2020 compared to May 2020, in original terms. Despite the month-on-month falls, spending increased towards the end of the month, particularly for non-discretionary items following increases in the number of national COVID-19 cases.

Retail turnover for all three categories continue to remain at higher levels when compared to June 2019. Annually, Perishable goods rose 14.4%, Non-perishable goods 12.4%, and All other products 7.8%. The higher levels of revenue reflect a continuation of more food being prepared and consumed at home due to social distancing.

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Selected product categories

The below tree map describes the annual revenue movements as well as the contribution to total revenue for each product. The colour of each tile denotes the annual revenue percentage movement for June 2020 compared to June 2019; whereas the size denotes the contribution to total revenue in June 2020.

Tree map for annual revenue movement for selected product categories
Tree map for annual revenue movement for selected product categories. Data for the map can be found in the following table.

Annual revenue movements and contributions to revenue data

CategoryMovement (%)Contribution to Total Revenue (%)
Baked Goods5.24.8
Batteries4.00.0
Butter & Fats15.50.7
Canned & Dry Mix Soup-9.70.5
Canned Fruit, Vegetables & Legumes19.60.7
Canned Meat & Seafood4.70.7
Cereals & Other Breakfast Foods8.01.9
Cheese22.73.4
Cleaning Products20.63.1
Clothing7.70.6
Coffee, Tea, & Cocoa16.42.0
Condiments13.12.7
Confectionary6.03.2
Convenience Meals16.62.2
Dessert Foods20.03.1
DIY-13.50.2
Eggs16.71.0
Entertainment Media-4.60.6
Flour27.20.2
Fresh Deli Foods19.93.0
Fresh Fruit & Vegetables15.813.5
Fresh Meat13.012.1
Fresh Seafood25.51.5
Frozen Food14.11.5
Health Foods16.61.8
Housewares14.31.6
Ice9.90.0
Infant Care Products-13.91.4
Long Life Milk Products19.30.5
Meal Bases15.70.9
Medicinal Products-2.41.3
Milk & Cream11.03.3
Milk Additives11.20.2
Non-Alcoholic Beverages14.54.8
Noodles, Pasta & Grains4.61.1
Oils22.80.7
Other Dairy Products14.41.8
Pet Care16.20.2
Pet Food5.62.3
Shopping Bag5.90.1
Snack Foods9.87.1
Stationery-4.20.1
Sugar8.10.5
Tech Products-17.20.2
Telco-13.40.2
Toiletries & Cosmetics12.55.7
Toys10.70.2
Vehicle Products11.60.0
Water10.80.5

Annual rises were observed for a number of food categories in June 2020. The largest rises included, Flour (27.2%), Fresh seafood (25.5%), and Oil (22.8%). The results compared to June 2019, indicate that social distancing measures have continued to contribute to an increase in food being prepared and consumed at home. While many food categories are up compared to June 2019, spending at cafes and restaurants has seen a large annual fall in June 2020.

Heat map

The heat map below denotes the annual revenue movements for each capital city, state and territory, at the Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA) level, where the colour of each region denotes the annual revenue percentage movement for June 2020 compared to June 2019.

Heat map denoting annual revenue movements for each capital city, state, and territory.
Heat map denoting annual revenue movements for each capital city, state, and territory. See graph below for figures.

Sydney: 10 to 12%
Rest of New South Wales: 12 to 14%
Melbourne: 14 to 16%
Rest of Victoria: 14 to 16%
Brisbane: 12 to 14%
Rest of Queensland: 10 to 12%
Adelaide: 2 to 4%
Rest of South Australia: 4 to 6%
Perth: 8 to 10%
Rest of Western Australia: 8 to 10%
Hobart: 8 to 10%
Rest of Tasmania: 10 to 12%
Darwin: 4 to 6%
Rest of Northern Territory: -10 to -8%
Canberra: 12 to 14%

Annual revenue percentage movements at the capital city, state and territory level are showing larger increases in revenue in the Eastern regions of Australia. Of the capital cities, Melbourne (16.1%) and Canberra (13.3%) recorded the largest annual rises. For the rest of state/territory areas, Rest of Victoria (17.0%) and Rest of New South Wales (12.9%) recorded the largest annual rises. Rest of Northern Territory recorded the only fall in annual revenue.

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Supplementary COVID-19 analysis - online sales

To enhance the understanding of the economic impacts of COVID-19, additional analysis of the retail series was undertaken.

The Retail Trade survey has been collecting online sales since the March quarter 2013. The data has been published as an experimental series in original data only. It is disaggregated by whether the retailer is "pure-play" (online only) or "multi-channel" (mix of online and physical stores).

This online series represents purchases made via the internet from employing retail businesses who predominately sell to households. The series excludes direct imports (e.g. purchased directly from an overseas website) and sales from households-to-households through third party websites for example. More information can be found in the information paper Measurement of Online Retail Trade in Macroeconomics(cat. no. 8501.0.55.007).

The additional analysis looked at the data with a grouped industry split; a food group (including the Food retailing and Cafes, restaurant and takeaway Industries) and a non-food group (all other industries). Due to the limitations of online data collection, a finer split by industry is not possible at this stage.

Seasonal adjustment has been calculated for the series but, like the total retail series, trend cannot be calculated due to the volatility of the retail series during COVID-19. This is an experimental series, and caution should be used in interpreting the results.

Total retail

The total online series has grown significantly since January 2014, with the figure in June 2020 approximately 365% higher than the figure published in June 2014.

Until COVID-19, seasonal adjustment smoothed out much of the volatility seen in the original series, for example the sharp rises seen in November due to Black Friday, and subsequent falls in January.

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Following large rises in March and April 2020, as consumers complied with regulations introduced to encourage social distancing and turned to online shopping, the series has seen comparatively small movements including a 3.9% rise in May, and a fall of 4.2% in June.

Food and non-food

Earlier in the pandemic, a rise in online sales was driven by Non-food, as customers turned to online shopping as physical stores closed over April. Food did not see a comparable rise in sales, as stores such as supermarkets kept physical stores open throughout the month and restricted online shopping to 'at-risk' customers.

Since April, Non-food shopping has eased as social distancing regulations have been relaxed, and as physical stores have re-opened. At the same time Food online sales have risen as supermarkets returned to offering online shopping to all sections of the community.

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As a proportion of grouped industry turnover, Non-food online sales have dropped from 20.0% in April, to 15.9% in May, and 15.0% in June. Despite the month-on-month falls, Non-food sales continue to be much larger than the same time last year. Food online sales have risen slightly from 4.3% in April, to 4.7% in May, and 4.6% in June.

With the fall in Non-food offset somewhat by the rise in Food, the percentage of total online sales remains elevated at 9.4% of total sales (seasonally adjusted). While this is a slight fall from the peak of 11.3% in April 2020, the proportion of online sales in June is still significantly above pre-COVID-19 levels, indicating consumers continued to spend more online even as restrictions eased gradually in May and June.

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Data downloads

Table 1. Retail turnover, by industry group

Table 2. Retail turnover, by industry group - percentage change from previous month

Table 3. Retail turnover, by state

Table 4. Retail turnover, by state - percentage change from previous month

Table 5. Quarterly retail turnover percentage change, volume and price, seasonally adjusted - by industry group

Table 6. Quarterly retail turnover percentage change, volume and price, seasonally adjusted - by state

Table 7. Quarterly retail turnover, chain volume measures - by industry group

Table 8. Quarterly retail turnover percentage change, chain volume measures - by industry group

Table 9. Quarterly retail turnover, chain volume measures - by state

Table 10. Quarterly retail turnover percentage change, chain volume measures - by state

Table 11. Retail turnover, state by industry subgroup, original

Table 12. Retail turnover, state by industry subgroup, seasonally adjusted

Table 13. Retail turnover, state by industry subgroup, trend

Table 14. Retail turnover; completely enumerated (large) and sample (small), by industry group

Table 15. Retail turnover; completely enumerated (large) and sample (small), by state

Table 16. Retail turnover, completely enumerated sector: Australia

Table 17. Quarterly consumer sales, Australia, by type of activity

Table 18. Quarterly consumer sales, Australia, by type of activity - percentage change from previous quarter

Table 19. Quarterly retail turnover per capita, Australia, all series

Table 20. Quarterly retail turnover per capita, Australia, all series - percentage change from previous quarter

All time series spreadsheets