The internet shopping revolution has helped boost the embattled retail sector with a 300 per cent surge in domestic online Boxing Day sales, according to the Australian Retailers Association.
ARA president Russell Zimmerman said the big rise in the value of online Boxing Day purchases, compared with last year, was partly behind expectations of a steady improvement in post-Christmas sales.
WA retailers are forecast to rake in $1.8 billion between Boxing Day and mid-January, up 6.7 per cent on last year, while retailers across the country will turn over $14.8 billion, up 3.9 per cent.
Mr Zimmerman said the trend showed there was a healthy future for bricks and mortar shops under the online revolution.
"Shops which have an online offering, as well as a store presence, are finding a healthy new revenue stream," he said.
He said major department stores had embraced internet shopping, with Myer starting its traditional Boxing Day sale on its website on Christmas Eve.
However, the massive jump in online transactions was partly because it came from a low base of less than 4 per cent of total retail sales this year.
National Australia Bank recorded a 30 per cent rise in ATM and Eftpos transactions on Boxing Day, with the 3.8 million transactions peaking at a rate of 100 a second.
But its busiest day was December 20 when it processed 7.7 million card transactions at a peak rate of 182 a second.
Bankwest recorded an 11 per cent increase in the amount its customers spent on credit between December 1 and 20, compared with the same time last year.
Despite healthy sales, Mr Zimmerman said the sector continued to face a cautious consumer environment. "It has been a fairly good Christmas, but not a great Christmas," he said.
Ruslan Kogan, founder of Kogan Online, said the site sold 300 per cent more on Boxing Day compared with last year.He said stores that did not enjoy similar improvements only had themselves to blame for not making all sale items available online.