Booktopia, the largest independent online bookseller in Australia, reported the strongest December in the company's16-year history, shipping approximately 728,000 units during the month, the company reported.

The strong December capped a solid six-month period in which pandemic-related lockdowns resulted in consumers shifting from physical retail to online book buying. In the six months ended December 31, 2020, Booktopia saw revenue spike 52% to AUS$113 million ($86 million), over the first half of the year when it was AUS$74.5 million ($57 million). Units shipped surged too, hitting 4.2 million for the half year, up from 3 million for the first six months. With the strong performance, EBITDA (earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) went up, rising 506% for the period to AUS$8 million, up from AUS$1.3 million for the prior six months.

Booktopia held an IPO in December, raising some $30 million on the Australian Stock Exchange. It has committed to using much of that money to increase its warehousing and distribution capacity. In November, the company expanded its Lidcombe Distribution Centre in Sydney, enabling the company to double the number of units it could ship in a day from 30,000 to 60,000.

“The Christmas period saw strong demand from customers,” said Booktopia CEO Tony Nash. “Our investment in additional capacity and automation allowed us to meet customer orders in a timely fashion and ensured we were able to have the biggest December in the history of the company.”