Continuing its upward trend for this year, online retail sales for the month of February saw growth at a rate of 19 per cent, outperforming traditional bricks and mortar stores.

According to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index, growth rates for online retailing are still maintaining superiority over those for bricks and mortar stores, with traditional sales rising 4.2 per cent year on year for January 2013. In seasonally adjusted terms, however, this equals 2.9 per cent.

However, these results for online sales in February have been some of the weakest recorded since May 2012. This rate is particularly weak when compared with the results seen at the end of 2012 and the relatively strong results seen in January 2013.

The index fell to 193 points in February from 202 points in January. Declines in growth rates were seen in the ‘Online Auctions, Department Stores, Fashion, Cosmetics, Variety Stores’ category.

The results were unexpected as trends in the last three years have shown that February is usually aligned with levels recorded in January.

Total spending for online retailing for the 12-month period leading up to February equalled $13.1 billion. This is only a fraction (5.9 per cent) of traditional bricks and mortar spending in Australia for the year to January 2013 – excluding cafes, restaurants and food.

Although results for online spending have not been what was expected, traditional bricks and mortar retailing in Australia had positive results for the month of February, with turnover increasing by 1.3 per cent (seasonally adjusted).

In order to keep sales up and online retail growth rates strong, it’s important for retailers in Australia to regularly review theirretail strategy. This way they can make any alterations needed in order to successfully communicate with and influence their target customers.