This is not the latest release View the latest release

Retail Trade, Australia

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

Reference period
September 2021
Released
29/10/2021

Key statistics

The September 2021 seasonally adjusted estimate: 

  • Rose 1.3% month-on-month.
  • Rose 1.7% compared with September 2020.
  • In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate fell 4.4% in the September quarter 2021.

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 4 November 2021 has seen the inclusion of more detailed results for the September 2021 reference period. Additional timeseries spreadsheets have been published, including; state by industry results, state by industry sub-group results, September quarter 2021 turnover volumes, and online sales.

Please note the November 2021 reference period issue was scheduled for release on 5 January 2022, with an additional information release on 11 January 2022. For the November 2021 issue only, all information will be released on 11 January 2022. Subsequent issues will return to the dual release format.

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 September 2021, please read the survey impacts and changes.

Turnover at current prices
Sep-2021 ($m)Aug-2021 to Sep-2021 (% change)Sep-2020 to Sep-2021 (% change)
Trendnanana
Seasonally Adjusted29669.31.31.7

na not available

Turnover in volume terms
September Qtr 2021 ($m)June Qtr 2021 to September Qtr 2021 (% change)September Qtr 2020 to September Qtr 2021 (% change)
Trendnanana
Seasonally Adjusted85348.5-4.4-2.2

na not available

Total retail turnover

Analysis by industry

Food retailing

Food retailing fell 1.4% (-$183.6m) in September, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Household goods retailing

Household goods retailing rose 4.3% ($227.7m) in September, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing rose 5.9% ($96.1m) in September, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Department stores

Department stores fell 0.3% (-$4.0m) in September, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Other retailing

Other retailing rose 2.1% ($98.0m) in September, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services

Cafes, restaurants, and takeaway food services rose 5.0% ($159.7m) in September, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Online retailing

Total online retailing sales were $4,341.4m in September 2021, in seasonally adjusted terms. This was the highest level for the monthly online retail sales in the history of this series, exceeding last month’s record result. In seasonally adjusted terms, the 3.4% ($143m) rise in September has added to the double-digit growth seen over each of the last three months, where lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory boosted online activity.

In September 2021, Food online sales were $1,099.7m, and Non-Food online sales were $3,241.7m, in seasonally adjusted terms. Food sales rose $3m (0.3%) in September 2021, a small increase following last month’s record increase in dollar terms. Non-Food sales rose $139.9m (4.5%) in September 2021, a modest increase following the double-digit monthly growth seen from June 2021 through to August 2021.

In original terms, the proportion of online sales for Food retailing was 7.2% in September 2021, down from 7.4% in August 2021, with Food online sales continuing to remain elevated due to lockdowns. The proportion of online sales for Non-Food retailing was 25.5%, the largest proportion recorded over the history of this series eclipsing the previous record from last month (25.1%).

In original terms, the proportion of online sales for total retailing was 15.3% in September 2021. This was the largest proportion of online sales for total retailing since data has been collected, eclipsing the previous record of 15.0% recorded last month.

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 4 November 2021. This includes September quarterly retail turnover contained in Tables 5 through to 10. Tables 1 through to 4 remain unchanged from their release on 29 October 2021.

Please note, we will be progressively transitioning to releasing Excel files in .XLSX format from 3 December 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:

 
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 September

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.

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

  • New South Wales - Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and the Central Coast remained under stay-at-home orders for the entire month. Some regional areas came out of lockdown on 11 September. A number of regional areas came out of lockdown, or returned to snap lockdowns as the month progressed. 
  • Victoria - Melbourne remained under stay-at-home orders for the entire month. Most regional areas were under restrictions from the prior month until 11:59pm 9 September.  Some parts of regional Victoria returned to lockdowns as the month progressed.
  • Australian Capital Territory - stay-at-home orders were in place for the entire month.

Differences between Retail Trade and Monthly Business Turnover Indicator

The ABS released the Monthly Business Turnover Indicator, August 2021 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 and 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 estimates of turnover in Retail Trade, Australia are complied from the monthly Retail Business Survey. About 500 '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, which 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.

Post release changes

04/11/2021 - As advertised in the main release of this publication on 29 October 2021, the time series spreadsheets for tables 5 through to 23 are now available under the Data Downloads section. This includes:

  • September monthly results for State by Industry Subgroup, Completely Enumerated (large) and Sample (small) businesses, and Online Retail Turnover.
  • September quarter 2021 results, available in tables 5 through to 10.

In addition, September 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.

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.