Data shows Australians spent big in the lead-up to Christmas

New data shows Australians hit the shops in November.

New data shows Australians hit the shops in November. Photo: AAP

Retailers enjoyed bumper sales in November as Victoria emerged from a months-long lockdown and falling coronavirus case numbers boosted consumer confidence.

National retail turnover in November was 13.3 per cent higher than the same time last year, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Monday.

Before the Northern Beaches in New South Wales entered a three-week lockdown over the Christmas period, turnover at current prices increased by 7.1 per cent in November to $31.65 billion.

The monthly surge came after a 1.4 per cent rise in October and was slightly higher than the preliminary estimate of 7.0 per cent published by the ABS in December.

As suggested by the preliminary figures, the monthly jump in sales was driven by Victorians hitting the shops once restrictions were eased to allow retailers to reopen, while Black Friday and Cyber Monday online sales also helped.

Monthly turnover, which excludes travel and pubs and clubs, surged by a massive 22.4 per cent in Victoria and by 2.6 per cent elsewhere.

But all states except South Australia, which experienced a short-lived lockdown in November, reported an increase in retail turnover.

The ABS said the brief lockdown in South Australia “led to a relatively flat result (-0.2 per cent), as falls in most industries were offset by a rise in food sales”.

“At the industry level, rises were recorded in household goods retailing (12.7 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (26.7 per cent), other retailing (7.9 per cent), department stores (21.1 per cent), and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (6.7 per cent) in November 2020,” the ABS said in a statement.

“The release of new games consoles and new iPhones added to sales in household goods and other retailing, while Black Friday sales also contributed to the increase across a number of industries.”

Online sales accounted for 11 per cent of total retail turnover in November – up from 10.4 per cent in October and 7.2 per cent in November 2019.

The figures were released hours after Australia Post revealed that December 2020 was the company’s “biggest month ever in its 211-year history”.

Australia Post said it delivered more than 52 million parcels during December, a near 20 per cent increase on the previous year.

Acting chief executive officer and managing director Rodney Boys said: “There is no denying that online shopping grew strongly through 2020, and this reached a new level in December as millions of people chose to buy their Christmas gifts online.”

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