iPhone 6 release buoys Australian September retail sales

The release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at the end of September helped boost Australia's retail trade volumes by 1.2 percent for the month, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Written by AAP , Contributor and  Leon Spencer, Contributor

September saw a significant 1.2 percent boost, seasonally adjusted, to Australia's retail trade volume, with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus release playing a large part in the sector's monthly growth, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Australia's retail sector has struggled in recent years as online sales in the country balloon, but the ABS' September figures show that household goods and electronics saw substantial growth during the month.

Of course, one of the big-ticket items of September was the iPhone 6 range, which was released in Australia on September 19. As usual, Australia was one of the first markets in the world to see the launch.

Apple shifted more than 10 million handsets globally in the first weekend of sales, and only stopped at that number due to supply limitations.

The ABS said that throughout the year, Australian retail turnover rose 5.7 percent in September 2014, seasonally adjusted, compared to September 2013.

"In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest contributor to the rise was household goods retailing (4.1 percent), where electrical and electronic goods retailing recorded growth (9.2 per cent)," the ABS said in a statement. "This figure was influenced by the release of the iPhone 6 during the month.

"The increase in electrical and electronic goods retailing represents about half of the total Australian sales movement of 1.2 percent in seasonally adjusted terms," it said.

Along with the new smartphone being released in the local market, rising house prices have also tempted Australians out of spending hibernation, according to the ABS.

Shoppers spent AU$23.6 billion in September after the solid 1.2 percent rise from August, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

It was the strongest increase in retail spending since February 2013, beating market expectations and showing a lift across the whole sector.

Household goods led the way, with a rise in sales of 4.1 percent, as a property price boom encouraged people to upgrade their homes or furnish new ones.

The release of highly anticipated new electronic gadgets and phones in September also boosted sales, JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy said.

"The rise was evident across all components, with household retailing very strong, electronics very strong — all in all, it looks like a pretty solid release," said Kennedy.

"But we've also got to stress that one month won't make a trend," he said. "I would say this is a great month for retail sales, but we'd need to see this momentum carry through to the next few months before we can draw any stable and sufficient links between asset price inflation and retail spending."

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