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Economic Structure and Performance of the Australian Retail Industry


  • Commission, Productivity

    (Productivity Commission)


There are almost 140 000 retail businesses in Australia, accounting for 4.1 per cent of GDP and 10.7 per cent of employment. Both current trading conditions and longer term trends are challenging. Retail sales growth has trended down over the past half-decade as consumers save more of their rising incomes and their spending is increasingly directed towards a range of non-retail services. The retail industry has met many competitive challenges in the past. Online retailing and the entry of new innovative global retailers are just the latest. The intensified competition is good for consumers, but is challenging for the industry which, as a whole, does not compare favourably in terms of productivity with many overseas countries. And the productivity gap appears to have widened over time. Australia also appears to lag a number of comparable countries in its development of online retailing. The Commission's best estimate is that online retailing represents 6 per cent of total Australian retail sales. In some other countries, online sales figures are higher and set to grow further, as will also happen here. Retailers operate under several regulatory regimes that restrict their competitiveness and ability to innovate including planning and zoning, and trading hours regulations.

Suggested Citation

  • Commission, Productivity, 2011. "Economic Structure and Performance of the Australian Retail Industry," Inquiry Reports, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia, number 56.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:prodir:0056

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    2. Summers, Michael & George, Verikios, 2016. "Assistive Technology Pricingin Australia: Is It Efficient and Equitable?," MPRA Paper 106500, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 09 Dec 2016.
    3. Iain Campbell & Robin Price, 2016. "Precarious work and precarious workers: Towards an improved conceptualisation," The Economic and Labour Relations Review, , vol. 27(3), pages 314-332, September.
    4. Yang, David, 2018. "Has the arrival of Amazon altered the market structure for consumer electronic goods in Australia?," MPRA Paper 88153, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Shehely Parvin & Paul Wang & Jashim Uddin, 2016. "Using best-worst scaling method to examine consumers’ value preferences: A multidimensional perspective," Cogent Business & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 1199110-119, December.
    6. Saul Eslake, 2011. "Productivity: The Lost Decade," RBA Annual Conference Volume (Discontinued), in: Hugo Gerard & Jonathan Kearns (ed.),The Australian Economy in the 2000s, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    7. Dragana VOJTESKI & Kljenak Lukic RADOJKO & Dragica JOVANCEVIC, 2015. "Labor Costs Analysis In The Trade Market Of Serbia," Management Research and Practice, Research Centre in Public Administration and Public Services, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 7(3), pages 59-79, September.
    8. James A. Giesecke & Nhi H. Tran, 2018. "The National and Regional Consequences of Australia's Goods and Services Tax," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 94(306), pages 255-275, September.
    9. Danchev, Svetoslav & Genakos, Christos, 2015. "Evaluating the impact of Sunday trading deregulation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 61156, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Malik Cahyadin, 2017. "Determinant Factors of Trade Industry Performance in Indonesia: AHP Approach," GATR Journals jber130, Global Academy of Training and Research (GATR) Enterprise.
    11. Jason Nassios & John Madden & James Giesecke & Janine Dixon & Nhi Tran & Peter Dixon & Maureen Rimmer & Philip Adams & John Freebairn, 2019. "The economic impact and efficiency of state and federal taxes in Australia," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers g-289, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.


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