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SYDNEY – The much ballyhooed Click Frenzy online sales event may have been a disaster (CDN, Nov. 21), but online retail shopping sales in Australia grew 26 per cent year-on-year to October, according to the NAB bank’s latest Online Retail Sales Index.

The latest rate compared with a 14 per cent rise year-on-year in May.

The growth in online sales was mainly driven by domestic retailers, which accounted for almost 75 per cent of the sales in the year to October, according to the NAB – though research firm Frost & Sullivan puts the local figure much lower (see below).

NAB chief economist Alan Oster said the result showed the recent campaign to get overseas retailers to pay GST on goods worth less than $1000 was “pointless and misguided”.

“If online was driven by purely tax purposes then you would expect sales to be 80 per cent international and 20 per cent local and that’s not true,” he said.

“It is very difficult to argue that 20 per cent of the market is driving the whole market.”

At a media roundtable discussion on online shopping trends in Sydney yesterday, Frost & Sullivan research firm exec Phil Harpur said about 45 percent of all online expenditure Down Under is still going to overseas sites – but he predicted this will change over the next five years as more Aussie bricks-and-mortar retailers are driven to improve their online offerings.

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