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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
May 2020
Released
3/07/2020

Key statistics

  • The trend series has been suspended from February 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 16.9%. 

Main features

May key figures

  May 2020April 2020 to May 2020
  $m% change
Turnover at current prices  
 Trend
na
na
 Seasonally Adjusted
28 971.4
16.9
na not available
 
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May 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 16.9% in May 2020. This follows a fall of 17.7% in April, and a rise of 8.5% in March 2020.
  • The following industries rose in seasonally adjusted terms in May 2020: Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (129.2%), Food retailing (7.2%), Household goods retailing (16.6%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (30.3%), Department stores (44.4%), and Other retailing (9.4%).
  • The following states and territories rose in seasonally adjusted terms in May 2020: New South Wales (16.5%), Victoria (17.2%), Queensland (16.6%), Western Australia (19.7%), South Australia (16.1%), Tasmania (17.3%), the Australian Capital Territory (12.2%), and the Northern Territory (8.1%).
     

Changes in this issue

There are no revisions to the original estimates.

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in May

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 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 was therefore 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.
     

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Analysis - total retail

Total retail - monthly

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

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Australian turnover rose 16.9% in May 2020, following a fall of 17.7% in April, and a rise of 8.5% in March 2020.

The original estimate for Australian turnover rose 19.3% in May 2020.

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Total retail - by state

The following states and territories rose in seasonally adjusted terms in May 2020: New South Wales (16.5%), Victoria (17.2%), Queensland (16.6%), Western Australia (19.7%), South Australia (16.1%), Tasmania (17.3%), the Australian Capital Territory (12.2%), and the Northern Territory (8.1%).

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Analysis by industry

Food retailing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Food retailing rose 7.2% in May 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Supermarkets and grocery stores (5.1%), Liquor retailing (25.8%), and Other specialised food (6.5%).

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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. The analysis shows that retail turnover rose for Perishable Goods (7.0%), Non-Perishable Goods (3.8%) and All Other Products (5.8%) in May 2020 compared to April 2020.

Retail turnover for all three categories remains at higher levels when compared to May 2019. Annually, Perishable Goods rose 14.5%, Non-Perishable Goods 11.8%, and All Other Products rose 2.5%. The results compared to 2019 indicate that social distancing measures continue to influence more food being consumed at home.

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Household goods retailing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Household goods retailing rose 16.6% in May 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Furniture, floor coverings, houseware and textile goods retailing (34.4%), Electrical and electronic goods retailing (16.2%), and Hardware, building and garden supplies retailing (8.0%).

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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 129.2% in May 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Clothing retailing (148.5%), and Footwear and other personal accessory retailing (98.4%).

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Department stores

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Department stores rose 44.4% in May 2020.

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Other retailing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Other retailing rose 9.4% in May 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletry goods retailing (10.0%), Other recreational goods retailing (28.9%), Other retailing n.e.c (3.8%), and Newspaper and book retailing (16.0%).

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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 30.3% in May 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Takeaway food services (25.1%), and Cafes, restaurants and catering services (38.8%).

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Original estimates for large and small retailers

The original estimate for chains and other large retailers rose 19.1% in May 2020. The original estimate for smaller retailers rose 20.0% in May 2020.

Supplementary COVID-19 analysis

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 April 2020 almost 400% higher than the figure published in April 2014.

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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.

The large rises in March and April 2020, related to COVID-19 and regulations introduced to encourage social distancing, were the two largest rises in the online series in seasonally adjusted terms. There was an 11.5% rise from February to March 2020, and a 30.3% rise from March to April 2020, as shoppers moved online due to regulations encouraging social distancing and stores moved to online only.

Food and non-food

This rise during April was larger in Non-food, as stores in Food, such as supermarkets, kept physical stores open throughout the month. Online food saw a rise of 11% from March to April in seasonally adjusted terms, following a fall of 4% from February to March. Non-food saw a rise of 36% from March to April 2020, following a rise of 18% from February to March 2020.

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The percentage of total Australian retail turnover purchased online rose significantly in April 2020, from 7.1% of total retail in March, to 11.1% in April. This was due to the large rise in the proportion of online purchases in the Non-food category.

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The rise in the proportion of total retail sales purchased online is driven by both the 36% rise in online sales and the almost 14% fall in total sales for Non-food industries.

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 spreadsheet