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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
July 2020
Released
4/09/2020
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Key statistics

  • The trend series has been suspended from February 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 3.2%.

Main features

July key figures

 July 2020June 2020 to July 2020
$m% change
Turnover at current prices  
 Trend
na
na
 Seasonally Adjusted
30 705.3
3.2
na not available

 
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July 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 3.2% in July 2020. This follows a rise of 2.7% in June, and a rise of 16.9% in May 2020.
  • The following industries rose in seasonally adjusted terms in July 2020: Household goods retailing (4.0%), Other retailing (4.4%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (4.9%), Food retailing (1.2%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (7.1%), and Department stores (4.0%).
  • The following states and territories rose in seasonally adjusted terms in July 2020: New South Wales (5.9%), Queensland (5.0%), Western Australia (3.8%), South Australia (2.9%), the Australian Capital Territory (5.8%), Tasmania (4.2%), and the Northern Territory (3.1%). Victoria (-2.1%) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in July 2020.
     

Changes in this issue

There are no revisions to the original estimates.

This issue includes updated online retail turnover estimates for the July 2020 reference month. This issue also includes experimental online time series spreadsheets for the first time. The spreadsheets provide data for online on a new consolidated industry split. More information can be found in Supplementary COVID-19 Analysis - Online sales. This issue also includes updated consumer sales estimates for the June quarter 2020. The estimates are provided and explained in the appendix section of this publication.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in July

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, In July 2020, a spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria saw restrictions tightened in Victoria, especially in Melbourne. These were furthered tightened in Victoria at the start of August. Movement across state borders have been restricted.

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 July 2020. Note, the trend series has been suspended.

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Australian turnover rose 3.2% in July 2020, following a rise of 2.7% in June, and a rise of 16.9% in May 2020.

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Total retail - by state

The following states and territories rose in seasonally adjusted terms in July 2020: New South Wales (5.9%), Queensland (5.0%), Western Australia (3.8%), South Australia (2.9%), the Australian Capital Territory (5.8%), Tasmania (4.2%), and the Northern Territory (3.1%). Victoria (-2.1%) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in July 2020.

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Analysis by industry

Food retailing

Food retailing rose 1.2% in July 2020, in seasonally adjusted terms.

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:

  • rose 1.6% for Supermarkets and grocery stores.
  • rose 2.3% for Other specialised food retailing.
  • fell 2.4% for Liquor retailing.
     
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Household goods retailing

Household goods retailing rose 4.0% in July 2020, in seasonally adjusted terms.

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:

  • rose 9.6% for Electrical and electronic goods retailing.
  • rose 3.7% for Furniture, floor coverings, houseware and textile goods retailing.
  • fell 1.6% for Hardware, building and garden supplies retailing.
     
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Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing rose 7.1% in July 2020, in seasonally adjusted terms.

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:

  • rose 6.7% for Clothing retailing.
  • rose 8.1% for Footwear and other personal accessory retailing.
     
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Department stores

Department stores rose 4.0% in July 2020, in seasonally adjusted terms.

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Other retailing

Other retailing rose 4.4% in July 2020, in seasonally adjusted terms.

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:

  • rose 7.7% for Pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletry goods retailing.
  • rose 9.6% for Other recreational goods retailing.
  • rose 1.2% for Other retailing n.e.c.
  • fell 3.7% for Newspaper and book retailing.
     
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Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services

Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services rose 4.9% in July 2020, in seasonally adjusted terms.

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:

  • rose 7.9% for Cafes, restaurants and catering services.
  • rose 1.8% for Takeaway food services.
     
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Original estimates for large and small retailers

The original estimate for Australian turnover rose 5.0% in July 2020. The original estimate for chains and other large retailers rose 4.6% in July 2020. The original estimate for smaller retailers rose 6.1% in July 2020.

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 rose for Non-perishable goods (7.8%), Perishable goods (6.2%), and All other products (7.7%) in July 2020 compared to June 2020, in original terms. The rise in spending, particularly for non-discretionary items follows increases in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Retail turnover for all three categories continues to remain at higher levels when compared to July 2019. Annually, Perishable goods rose 15.4%, Non-perishable goods 14.3%, and All other products 10.2%. 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 tree map below 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 July 2020 compared to July 2019, whereas the size denotes the contribution to total revenue in July 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

CategoryMovementRevenue
Baked Goods5.6%$351,028,571.90
Butter & Fats19.1%$52,047,166.66
Canned & Dry Mix Soup3.2%$33,014,289.01
Canned Fruit, Vegetables & Legumes22.2%$51,299,177.16
Canned Meat & Seafood11.0%$56,182,678.80
Cereals & Other Breakfast Foods10.2%$145,124,773.50
Cheese23.2%$252,208,238.60
Cleaning Products27.7%$241,898,293.30
Clothing-9.5%$32,116,917.02
Coffee, Tea, & Cocoa17.2%$148,056,940.90
Condiments17.0%$208,598,024.60
Confectionery9.5%$253,250,196.60
Convenience Meals21.6%$174,072,140.00
Dessert Foods17.1%$230,888,506.90
Eggs16.8%$75,611,189.22
Flour35.2%$11,949,653.29
Fresh Deli Foods21.3%$257,426,413.10
Fresh Fruit & Vegetables15.8%$1,009,315,781.00
Fresh Meat15.7%$917,551,468.10
Fresh Seafood25.2%$112,670,544.30
Frozen Food21.3%$117,916,874.90
Health Foods16.5%$134,148,016.00
Housewares9.6%$133,897,937.80
Infant Care Products-11.7%$105,694,498.40
Long Life Milk Products25.9%$41,935,465.10
Meal Bases20.5%$65,806,321.55
Medicinal Products16.0%$124,329,389.00
Milk & Cream11.3%$245,487,599.00
Non-Alcoholic Beverages11.7%$352,262,854.90
Noodles, Pasta & Grains17.7%$91,227,146.25
Oils23.6%$49,843,239.12
Other Dairy Products13.3%$140,298,836.70
Pet Care16.2%$17,673,045.10
Pet Food8.8%$176,876,246.10
Snack Foods13.3%$536,912,883.60
Sugar10.8%$41,280,869.85
Telco-13.6%$11,583,229.86
Toiletries & Cosmetics13.5%$434,360,096.20
Water6.4%$39,776,007.97


Annual rises were observed for a number of food categories in July 2020. The largest rises included, Flour (35.2%), Cleaning products (27.7%), and Long-life milk products (25.9%). The results compared to July 2019, indicate that social distancing measures have continued to contribute to an increase in food being prepared and consumed at home.

Heat map

The heat map below shows 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 July 2020 compared to July 2019.

Heat map denoting annual revenue movements for each capital city, state, and territory. See graph below for figures.
Sydney: 14 to 16%
Rest of New South Wales: 14 to 16%
Melbourne: 20 to 22%
Rest of Victoria: 20 to 22%
Brisbane: 12 to 14%
Rest of Queensland: 8 to 10%
Adelaide: 2 to 4%
Rest of South Australia: 8 to 10%
Perth: 8 to 10%
Rest of Western Australia: 10 to 12%
Hobart: 8 to 10%
Rest of Tasmania: 10 to 12%
Darwin: 2 to 4%
Rest of Northern Territory: -12 to -10%
Canberra: 12 to 14%

Annual revenue percentage movements at the capital city, state and territory level are showing larger increases in revenue in the south-eastern regions of Australia. Of the capital cities, Melbourne (21.8%) and Sydney (14.1%) recorded the largest annual rises. For the rest of state/territory areas, Rest of Victoria (20.9%) and Rest of New South Wales (14.9%) recorded the largest annual rises. In Victoria, physical distancing measures have tightened following increases in the number of COVID-19 cases. Rest of Northern Territory recorded the only fall in annual revenue.

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Supplementary COVID-19 analysis - online sales

Changes to the online series

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, as an Appendix to the Retail Trade publication. It is disaggregated by whether the retailer is "Pure-play" (online only) or "Multi-channel" (mix of online and physical stores).

This split, between Pure-play and Multi-channel, was designed to measure how traditional retail changed over time, however the number has remained stable, with Pure-play online retailers averaging 38.3% of total online sales. In July 2013 Pure-play was 35.4% of Online sales, in July 2020 it was 32.6%. As Pure-Play retailing has grown, Multi-channel retailers have also been able to grow their online presence.

In order to provide fit-for-purpose analysis, going forward the Online series will be published with a grouped industry split; a Food group (including the Food retailing, and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services) 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.

The Pure-play and Multi-channel split will remain available on request but this publication (July 2020) marks the last time it will be published in the Appendix on a regular basis.

The online series continues to use the same source data, and 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).

Seasonal adjustment has been calculated for the new series using the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors are re-estimated each time a new data point becomes available. Unusual real-world events, such as COVID-19, can distort estimates calculated using the method. The Online series remains experimental, and caution should be used in interpreting the results. Like the total retail series, trend cannot be calculated due to the volatility of the retail series during COVID-19.

Total retail

The total online series rose 6.0% in seasonally adjusted month-on-month terms in July 2020, following a fall of 2.9% in June, and a rise of 3.7% in May 2020.

These results followed large rises in March and April 2020, as consumers turned to online shopping as a way of complying with regulations introduced to encourage social distancing.

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In through-the-year terms the seasonally adjusted series rose 72.5% in July 2020 compared to July 2019. In the 12 months from March 2019 to February 2020, Total online sales averaged growth of 14.4%. Coinciding with the shift to online purchasing at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, Total online sales saw a large rise in through-the-year growth in March and April. The series has maintained this growth since that time.

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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. Following falls in May and June, when social distancing regulations were relaxed, the level of sales rose in July, coinciding with a rise in COVID-19 cases and the re-imposition of restrictions in Victoria.

The seasonally adjusted level of online sales for the Food group also rose in July. As COVID-19 panic buying broke out in March and April, supermarkets did not see a large boost in online sales as physical stores remained open, and online shopping was restricted to 'at-risk' customers. Since this time supermarkets have returned to offering online shopping to all sections of the community, and the level of online sales in the Food series has risen.

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As a proportion of total grouped industry turnover, Non-food online sales were 15.3% of total Non-Food sales in July 2020, seasonally adjusted. This remains elevated compared to pre-COVID-19 levels but is down on the heights seen in April (19.9%). While the level of Non-food online sales is similar to the heights witnessed in April, the re-opening of physical stores across Australia (except in Victoria) means that online sales make up a lower percentage of total Non-food sales than in April.

The proportion of total Food sales made online has continued to grow in July. Food online sales made up 4.9% of total Food sales in July, up from 4.6% in June. The proportion of Food sales in March was 3.0%.

Total online sales remain elevated at 9.7% of total sales (seasonally adjusted) in July. While this is a slight fall from the peak of 11.3% in April 2020, the proportion of online sales in July remains higher than pre-COVID-19 levels, and has largely stayed steady since May.

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Inquiries

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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

Table 21. Experimental series - online retail turnover Australia by type of activity

Table 22. Experimental series - online retail turnover Australia by type of activity percentage change

Table 23. Experimental series - online retail turnover Australia by type of activity percentage of total Australian retail turnover

All time series spreadsheets

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8501.0.