Online spending jumps 22pc in March quarter

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Australian online spending jumped 22 per cent to $4.37 billion in the first quarter, paving the way for a record year, according to a report by payments platform company eWAY.

Retail online spending increased from $3.6bn in the corresponding period a year earlier and was down only 6.9 per cent from the typically strong fourth quarter.

“Australia’s eCommerce sector continues to outpace bricks and mortar retail growth,” the report said.

Top performing categories including household items and electronics, while travel, restaurants, dining and education experienced “exponential” growth.

The 6pm to 9pm period accounted for 20.5 per cent of all sales, with the timeslot showing rapid growth.

eWAY founder and chief executive Matt Bullock said the data highlighted consumer preferences for more flexible retail trading times, amid debate over state-based reforms to extend trading hours.

A slump in the value of the Australian currency during the quarter also presented opportunities from the global market, he said.

“With the Australian dollar down substantially on this time last year, the dollar value of physical purchases sent to international postcodes is up almost 30 per cent,” he said.

“There is a clear window of opportunity for small businesses to open up their offering to global markets, if they are not already.”