Latest release

Retail Trade, Australia

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

Reference period
August 2021
Released
28/09/2021
Future Releases
  • Next Release 29/10/2021
    Retail Trade, Australia, September 2021
  • Next Release 4/11/2021
    Retail Trade, Australia, September 2021
  • Next Release 26/11/2021
    Retail Trade, Australia, October 2021
  • View all releases

Key statistics

The August 2021 seasonally adjusted estimate: 

  • Fell 1.7% month-on-month.
  • Fell 0.7% compared with August 2020.

Release Schedule for Retail Trade, Australia

The Retail Trade, Australia publication has moved to a new release schedule to better accommodate data users’ needs following the discontinuation of Retail Trade, Australia, Preliminary.

An additional information release on 5 October 2021 has seen the inclusion of more detailed results for the August 2021 reference period. Additional timeseries spreadsheets have been published, including; state by industry results, state by industry sub-group results, quarterly turnover volumes, and online sales.

To understand more about any changes to the release schedule, as well as changes in this issue, suspension of trend estimates, and COVID-19 in August 2021, please read the survey impacts and changes.

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Turnover at current prices
Aug-2021 ($m)Jul-2021 to Aug-2021 (% change)Aug-2020 to Aug-2021 (% change)
Trendnanana
Seasonally Adjusted29275.5-1.7-0.7

na not available

Total retail turnover

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Analysis by industry

Food retailing

Food retailing rose 2.1% ($269.9m) in August, in seasonally adjusted terms.

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Household goods retailing

Household goods retailing fell 2.3% (-$124.5m) in August, in seasonally adjusted terms.

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Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing fell 15.7% (-$304.4m) in August, in seasonally adjusted terms.

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Department stores

Department stores fell 10.2% (-$141.8m) in August, in seasonally adjusted terms.

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Other retailing

Other retailing rose 0.8% ($37.3m) in August, in seasonally adjusted terms.

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Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services

Cafes, restaurants, and takeaway food services fell 7.0% (-$239.4m) in August, in seasonally adjusted terms.

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Online retailing

Total online retailing sales were $4,196.2m in August 2021, in seasonally adjusted terms. This was the highest level for the monthly online retail sales in the history of this series. In seasonally adjusted terms, the $549m (15.1%) rise was the second largest dollar term rise, following April 2020. 

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In August 2021, Food online sales were $1,093.4m, and Non-Food online sales were $3,102.7m, in seasonally adjusted terms. Food sales rose $114.3m (11.7%) in August 2021, the largest increase in dollar terms since the beginning of the timeseries. Non-Food sales rose $434.6m (16.3%) in August 2021, the second largest increase in dollar terms recorded since the beginning of the timeseries, following April 2020.

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In original terms, the proportion of online sales for Food retailing was 7.4% in August 2021, the largest proportion recorded over the history of this series. The proportion of online sales for Non-Food retailing was 25.1%, the largest proportion recorded over the history of this series eclipsing the previous record in April 2020 (20.5%).

In original terms, the proportion of online sales for total retailing was 15.0% in August 2021. This was the largest proportion of online sales for total retailing since data has been collected, eclipsing the previous record of 12.6% recorded in July 2021.

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

Data downloads

Tables 5 through to 23 have been made available on 5 October 2021. Tables 1 through to 4 remain unchanged from their release on 28 September 2021.

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

ABS.Stat datasets

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

Retail Trade, Key Aggregates - Monthly retail trade turnover estimates for Australian businesses classified by industry, and 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

ABS.Stat is updating and the above datasets are now available in 'Data Explorer'. 
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
The current version of ABS.Stat will be removed at the end of 2021.

Data Explorer datasets

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 - 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 a new 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, with 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.

The following highlights the timing and availability of time series spreadsheets from the July 2021 reference period onwards:

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ReleaseTimingTablesContent
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 releases each month will be based on the same source data, with no additional data collection activity occurring between these times.

The ABS will continue to quality assure data between the release of the key statistics and the additional tables, with 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. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in retail spending that will occur during the Coronavirus pandemic. 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, and 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 August

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, which continued until the end of the month and ended on 1 April.

In April 2021,  Perth and some regional areas of Western Australia saw restrictions from 24 April through to 26 April inclusive.

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

In June 2021, there were restrictions across multiple states and territories, including:

  • Victoria - restrictions introduced in May remained in place for the first three days of June in regional Victoria, and the first ten days of the month in Melbourne. Restrictions such as mask wearing in all public indoor settings (such as retail and workplaces), remained in place for the rest of June.
  • New South Wales - stay-at-home orders were introduced across Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong from 26 June. Some Eastern Sydney local government areas saw restrictions introduced a day earlier than the rest of Greater Sydney.
  • Northern Territory - lockdown restrictions were introduced from 1pm, 27 June.  This initially applied to Darwin and surrounds, however, restrictions were expanded to Alice Springs on the last day of the month. Restrictions remained in effect until early July.
  • Western Australia - lockdown restrictions for Perth and surrounds were introduced 29 June, and remained in effect until early July.
  • Queensland - lockdown restrictions for South-East Queensland and Townsville were introduced at 6pm, 29 June, remaining in place until early July.

In July 2021, restrictions continued to impact multiple states and territories, including:

  • New South Wales - Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong remained under stay-at-home orders for the entire month. Non-essential retail was closed from 18 July onwards.
  • Northern Territory - restrictions introduced in June remained in effect until 2 July.
  • Western Australia - restrictions introduced in June remained in effect until 2 July.
  • Queensland - restrictions introduced in June remained in effect until 3 July, although some restrictions for non-essential retail continued past this date. The state re-entered lockdown at 4pm on the last day of the month.
  • Victoria - lockdown restrictions were introduced at 11:59pm, 15 July and were in place until 11:59pm 27 July.  Some restrictions from the prior month, such as mask wearing in workplaces and offices, had been eased from 9 July until 15 July.
  • South Australia - lockdown restrictions were in place from 6pm, 20 July through to 6pm, 27 July.

In August 2021, the following states and territories were directly impacted by restrictions:

  • New South Wales - Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong remained under stay-at-home orders for the entire month. Over the first half of August various regional cities and townships within New South Wales were sent into snap 7 day lockdowns. These lockdowns were extended, and a state wide regional lockdown commenced at 5pm 14 August, lasting into the following month. From 23 August, garden centres, office supply and hardware supply businesses within Sydney's "Local Government Areas of Concern" were restricted to click and collect shopping, as well as wholesale trade.
  • Queensland - South East Queensland was under stay-at-home orders for the first 8 days of the month. Cairns was under lockdown restrictions from 8 August through to 11 August.
  • Victoria - restrictions were reintroduced in Melbourne at 8pm 5 August, and remained in effect for the remainder of the month. Regional Victoria went into lockdown from 8pm 5 August until 11:59pm 9 August. A second regional lockdown commenced at 1pm 21 August and was in place for the remainder of the month.
  • Australian Capital Territory - restrictions were introduced at 4pm 12 August, the first lockdown for the territory since nationwide restrictions in 2020. The territory remained in lockdown for the remainder of the month. From 28 August non-essential small retailers were able to operate click and collect. 
  • Northern Territory - Greater Darwin was under lockdown restrictions from midday 16 August through to midday 19 August. Katherine spent an extra 24 hours in lockdown.

Post release changes

05/10/2021 - As advertised in the main release of this publication on 28 September 2021, the time series spreadsheets for tables 5 through to 23 are now available under the Data Downloads section. This includes August results for: State by Industry Subgroup, Completely Enumerated (large) and Sample (small) businesses, and Online Retail Turnover. Links to ABS.Stat and Data Explorer datasets have also been added to the Data Downloads section. 

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.

Inquiries

For inquiries about these and related statistics, contact the Customer Assistance Service via the ABS website Contact Us page. The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.