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
March 2022

Key statistics

The March 2022 seasonally adjusted estimate: 

  • Rose 1.6% month-on-month.
  • Rose 9.4% compared with March 2021.
  • In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose 1.2% in the March quarter 2022. 

Total retail turnover

An additional information release on 10 May 2022 has seen the inclusion of more detailed results for the March 2022 reference period. Additional timeseries spreadsheets have been published, including; state by industry results, state by industry sub-group results, March quarter 2022 turnover volumes, and online sales.

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

Turnover at current prices
Mar-2022 ($m)Feb-2022 to Mar-2022 (% change)Mar-2021 to Mar-2022 (% change)
Seasonally adjusted33,626.11.69.4

na not available

Turnover in volume terms
March Qtr 2022 ($m)December Qtr 2021 to March Qtr 2022 (% change)March Qtr 2021 to March Qtr 2022 (% change)
Seasonally adjusted93,

Analysis by industry

Food retailing

Food retailing rose 0.5% ($58.4m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Household goods retailing

Household goods retailing rose 3.4% ($204.9m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing rose 0.5% ($14.3m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Department stores

Department stores rose 4.1% ($71.7m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Other retailing

Other retailing rose 2.0% ($101.5m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services rose 2.0% ($90.0m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Online retailing

Total online retailing sales were $3,717.8m in March 2022, in seasonally adjusted terms. Seasonally adjusted online sales rose 1.4% ($52.7m), partially restoring lost sales in last month’s fall. This is only the second monthly rise in online sales since state lockdowns ended in October 2021. The return to shopping in store has seen online sales gradually fall from the high rises seen during the Delta Outbreak. Total online retailing turnover remains elevated, up 24.1% ($721.6m), in through-the-year in seasonally adjusted terms.

In March 2022, Food online sales were $1,044.4m, and Non-Food online sales were $2,673.4m, in seasonally adjusted terms. Both non-food sales, up 2.8% ($28.8m) and food sales, up 0.9 per cent ($23.9m) contributed to the rise in online sales.

In original terms there were rises in the proportion of online sales for both Food and non-Food retailing to total retailing. The proportion of online Food sales rose to 5.9% in March 2022 from 5.7% in February 2022, while the proportion of online Non-Food sales rose to 16.7% in March 2022 from 16.1% in February 2022.

In original terms, the proportion of online sales to total retailing rose 0.5% to 10.9% in March 2022.

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 10 May 2022. This includes March quarterly retail trade contained in Tables 5 through to 10. Tables 1 through to 4 remained unchanged from their release on 4 May 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

An Extraordinary Annual Seasonal Review (EASR) of monthly time series was completed prior to the release of February data with changes to monthly time series reflected.  EASR of the quarterly time series has now been completed with changes to the quarterly time series reflected in Tables 5-10. Further information on the EASR is available below.

Extraordinary Annual Seasonal Review (EASR)

In early 2020 the ABS advised that the method used to produce seasonally adjusted estimates would be changed from the ‘concurrent adjustment’ method to the ‘forward factors’ method for series with significant and prolonged impacts from COVID-19. Given the ongoing disruption during the COVID-19 period and continuing use of forward factors, extraordinary annual reviews of seasonally adjusted series are progressively being undertaken across the ABS statistics programs.

The extraordinary annual review process individually assesses how the the most recent data of each series should be treated and determines the most appropriate approach (concurrent adjustment or forward factors) for estimating seasonal adjustment factors during the COVID-19 period. It should be noted that series moved to forward factors are likely to have larger revisions when the forward factors are annually updated or when the series returns to concurrent seasonal adjustment. 

The outcome of the review is that Retail Trade will continue to use forward factors method for all monthly series as economic conditions are yet to return to pre COVID-19 conditions. New forward factors have been calculated and will be used from the February 2022 publications.

Further information can be found here: Methods changes during the COVID-19 period

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 March

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

For a detailed breakdown of restrictions in January 2022, please refer to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in January in Survey impacts and changes section of the January 2022 release.

For a detailed breakdown of restrictions in February 2022, please refer to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in February in Survey impacts and changes section of the February 2022 release.

In March 2022, changes to existing COVID-19 safety measures across the states and territories included:

  • Queensland - from 6pm March 4, masks will no longer be required in workplaces, schools, shops, hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, and pubs. Density limits no longer apply to gyms, private venues, food courts, hairdressers, weddings and funerals.

  • South Australia - from 12:01am March 12, density limits no longer apply with caps on home gatherings lifted and QR check-ins no longer required for recreational transport, auctions and inspections, public transport, taxis, rideshares and education facilities.

  • Western Australia - from 12:01am March 3, travellers who have had 3 doses of Covid-19 vaccine will be able to enter WA, however, unvaccinated travellers from interstate will not be able to enter. From 12:01am March 3, Level 2 public health measures introduced state-wide including: mask wearing requirements expanded to children in Years 3-6 in all public indoor settings; home gatherings limited to a total of 10 people indoors and outdoors, except weddings and funerals; private outdoor gatherings in a public space limited to 50 people; 2sqm rule and 150 person capacity limit indoors or outdoors for weddings and funerals, and for places of worship; 2sqm rule and 150 patron limit (not including staff) for hospitality venues (seated service only), fitness venues, entertainment venues (excluding seated entertainment venues), galleries and museums, places of worship, hairdressers, tattoo parlours and beauty services, nightclubs (seated service only); 2sqm rule for public venues such as swimming pools and recreation centres; 50 per cent capacity limit for entertainment venues with forward facing seating, such as theatres and cinemas, and for major stadiums, including Optus Stadium, RAC Arena, HBF Stadium (main area) and HBF Park, with mask wearing at stadiums; 4sqm rule and seated service only for the Crown Casino gaming floor; hospitals, aged and disability care facilities limited to 2 visitors per resident per day to aged care and disability care facilities; no visitors to hospitals, except for spouses, parents or carers, birth partners or for compassionate reasons; 2sqm rule and 150 person capacity limit indoors or outdoors for higher education facilities; indoor and outdoor community sports with no spectators, except for parents or guardians; 2sqm rule and 500 person capacity limit for outdoor public venues and events. 

  • Tasmania - from 12:01am March 5, masks no longer required for retail settings. From 5pm March 11, masks no longer required in offices, seated cafes and restaurants and large outdoor events with more than 1,000 people.

  • Northern Territory - indoor mask mandate lifted on March 7 except for the Big Rivers region and high-risk settings such as hospitals, GP and health clinics, corrections facilities and disability facilities. Indoor mask mandate for the Big Rivers region lifted at 12:01am March 11.

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 focuses 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

10/05/2022 - As advertised in the main release of this publication on 4 May 2022, the time series spreadsheets for tables 5 through to 23 are now available under the Data Downloads section. This includes:

  • March monthly results for State by Industry Subgroup, Completely Enumerated (large) and Sample (small) businesses, and Online Retail Turnover.
  • March quarter 2022 results, available in tables 5 through to 10.  Please note that monthly revisions made in February 2022 due to amendments to source data in Food Retailing are now reflected in the updated quarterly estimates.

In addition, March quarter results and 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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