It's all about the clicks over bricks: Online sales stage a January rebound

Australians have flocked to their laptops and smartphones in January with renewed vigour, following a billion-dollar splurge in the lead-up to Christmas.

Australians have flocked to their laptops and smartphones in January with renewed vigour, following a billion-dollar splurge in the lead-up to Christmas.

Figures suggest that online retail might not always suffer the traditional post-holiday blues that traditional stores historically have endured.

National Australia Bank's latest online retail sales index, released on Monday, shows online sales grew 27 per cent to $13 billion for the year to January. Importantly, the growth rate matched the high recorded in November, after a dip in December, reflecting renewed strength in the emerging online sector during what is traditionally a period of weakness after Christmas.

"December might not have been as strong as it normally is, with growth dipping to 23 per cent, but January proved a lot more resilient than previous years and growth bounced back to its November high," said NAB chief economist Alan Oster.

The 27 per cent growth in online sales to January comes as the month has not been a typically strong one for online retailers.

But the growth rate is still way ahead of traditional stores, which were up just 0.4 per cent year-on-year in December on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

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