CANBERRA, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Australia's frenzy for online shopping continues to blossom, with the latest figures showing online sales increased by 250 percent in the past year.
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Monday evening showed online sales reached 988 million U.S. dollars in April, up from 388 million U.S. dollars at the same time last year.
The data confirms many Australian retailers' worst fears that online shopping giants are taking an increasing share of the market away from local shops.
One in every 20 Australian dollars (15.2 US dollars) is currently spent online, contributing 5.4 percent to all sales in April 2018, up from 3.4 percent a year ago.
Retailers claim pressure on the sector has been exacerbated by the growth in online shopping. After years of lobbying by Harvey Norman founder, Gerry Harvey, the Turnbull government's 10 percent GST on online shopping will come into force from July 1.
The latest ABS data was published as Treasurer, Scott Morrison, engaged in a dispute with U.S. retail giant Amazon over changes to GST on online shopping.
To compound the problems for retailers, they have been hit by an increase in the minimum wage for up to one million workers in the sector.
The ABS figures showed that people were eating out more in restaurants and cafes, but not buying things to keep. Clothing, shoe and department stores, for example, were feeling the pinch of the move by Australian consumers to online shopping.
But that was offset by a small boost in sales for cafes, restaurants and take-aways.
"The spectacular growth of internet shopping continues," said Sarah Hunter, the head of macroeconomics at BIS Oxford Economics, on Monday.
The Commonwealth Games, held on the Gold Coast in April, did nothing for Queensland's shops (which recorded a 0.1 percent rise in sales), despite it being marketed as a boost for retailers.
The figures are likely to be latched on to by retailers who have spent the past week warning that the Fair Work Commission's decision to hand workers a pay rise of 3.5 percent could send some businesses under.