Online sales set to soarThe latest data from economic forecaster points to improved consumer spending, however, the growth is expected to come largely from online sources.

IBISWorld information analysts suggested online shopping was among the industries ‘expected to soar’. Also expected to be top performers were internet publishing and broadcasting, diamond and gemstone mining, superannuation funds and organic farming

The online shopping sector is expected to grow by 12.3 per cent in 2018 to reach $13.2 billion in revenue.

“As there are no geographical boundaries, parallel imports, increased competition and global sourcing will reduce the cost of online shopping to the end user, driving its appeal”, said IBISWorld Australia general manager Karen Dobie.

“Australian consumers are price conscious going into 2018 and online shopping allows them to hunt for the greatest bargains from retailers both locally and abroad.”

And she observed that more traditional retailers were going online to remain competitive with their spectacular looking tiled shopfronts acting as locations for pick-up and returns.

IBISWorld also noted a continuation of the trend for Australians to pay down credit debt and increase their savings and investments in assets. Business, on the other hand, remained steady, especially the manufacturing and engineering industries.

The Australian household savings ratio was expected to rise from 8.8 per cent in 2008-09 to 9.9 per cent in 2016-17.

In other data, the Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI) noted economy-wide spending had lifted for the 16th straight month in December.

It said spending had increased by 0.9 per cent in December, up from 0.8 per cent growth in November and October.

In annual terms, the BSI was up 9.8 per cent in December, a lift from October and the fastest pace in over six years.

The BSI covers spending more broadly across the economy rather than just retail sales, however, included in its research are transactions made at clothing stores.