by Alan Thornhill
Australians are quick to spot a bargain.
And we respond quickly to economic changes.
These developments – evident in a new study – are radically changing the way we shop.
The study, by the ANZ Bank, shows steady growth in the small business sector.
It revealed that small business sales a grew by 6.9 per cent, in the 12 months to the end of May.
The sector also chalked up 3.8 per cent growth, in the first five months of this year.
In the current economic climate, these are strong figures.
As always, though, it’s the detail that really counts.
The study also shows, for example, that many traditional shopkeepers are still going through tough times.
Those selling electrical goods and appliances, for example, saw their sales shrink by 2.6 per cent, in the 12 months to the end of May.
Sales in clothing and fashion stores also fell, dropping by 1.2 per cent.
Home wares and furniture sales were down, over this time, too, falling by 1.9 per cent.
So what is happening, here?
Ivan Colhoun, who heads the ANZ’s economic and property research, notes that the electrical and clothing sectors are “heavily exposed to the high Australian dollar.”
This makes local shopkeepers, in these areas, “vulnerable” to competition from internet shopping sites.
The high Aussie dollar has also made foreign cars cheaper, in this country, over the past year.
Australia’s car dealers have done very well, out of that.
The bank’s survey showed that the automotive sector increased its sales by a truly impressive 7.8 per cent over the year.
It also showed that we are eating out more, with restaurant sales rising by 6.9 per cent, in the same time.
The business service sector performed well too, with its sales rising by 5.9 per cent over the year.
Where we live matters, too.
Small business sales in resource rich regions have generally been rising most strongly in the nation’s resource rich States and Territories.
Those in Western Australia, for example, rose by 6.5 per cent in the year to the end of May, while small businesses in Queensland saw a 5.1 per cent increase, and small business sales in the Northern Territory jumped by 6.1 per cent.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Thursday December 12
Australia’s unemployment rate rises slightly to 5.8 per cent in November 2013 (seasonally adjusted):ABS
The Dow Jones index fell 129 points to 15,844
The High Court upholds a Commonwealth government challenge to an ACT law permitting same sex marriages. Some 30 couples will now find their marriages void.
The Federal government admits it won’t meet its time or cost targets, in its broadband roll-out
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