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Retail, E-Com Sales Climbing

  |  August 31, 2004   |  Comments

E-commerce rang up a sales surge in the second quarter, increasing 23.1 percent over the previous year.

Despite a slight dip in the percentage of quarterly total retail sales, e-commerce held onto a sizable piece of the spending pie. The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce found that e-commerce accounted for $15.65 billion of the $919.0 billion total retail sales for the second quarter of 2004.

At 1.7 percent of the quarterly retail sales picture, the e-commerce percentage has dropped for the first time since Q3 2003. However, this is a typical dip, as the fourth and first quarters are filled with holiday shopping activity.

The sharpest increases were noted year-over-year. The Q2 2004 total retail sales figure represents a 7.8 percent increase over Q2 2003, while e-commerce sales rang up a 23.1 percent surge over the previous year.

The Q2 2004 e-commerce estimate increased 0.9 percent from Q1 2004, and total retail sales climbed 10.1 percent.

Estimated Quarterly U.S. Retail Sales:
Total and E-commerce (in billions)
Period Retail Sales
E-Commerce E-commerce's
% of Total
Q2 2004P $919.041 $15,654 1.7%
Q1 2004R $834,829 $15,515 1.9%
Q4 2003R $912,109 $17,512 1.9%
Q3 2003R $867,242 $13,651 1.6%
Q2 2003 $852,760 $12,718 1.5%
Q1 2003 $767,433 $12,115 1.6%
Q4 2002 $859,250 $13,999 1.6%
Q3 2002 $818,061 $10,734 1.3%
Q2 2002 $814,626 $10,005 1.2%
Q1 2002 $738,185 $9,549 1.3%
Q4 2001 $850,265 $10,755 1.3%
Q3 2001 $779,096 $7,821 1.0%
Q2 2001 $802,662 $7,794 1.0%
Q1 2001 $724,73 $7,893 1.1%
Q4 2000 $812,809 $9,143 1.1%
Q3 2000 $768,139 $7,009 0.9%
Q2 2000 $774,677 $6,185 0.8%
Q1 2000 $714,561 $5,663 0.8%
Q4 1999 $787,212 $5,335 0.7%
Notes: Estimates are based on data from the Monthly
Retail Trade Survey and administrative records, and
are not adjusted for seasonal variation, holiday or
trading-day differences, or price changes. Retail
sales estimates exclude food service. E-commerce
sales are defined as sales of goods and services
where an order is placed by the buyer or price and
terms of sale are negotiated over an Internet, extranet,
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) network, electronic
mail, or other online system. Payment may or may not
be made online. R = revised; P = preliminary
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

Long-term expectations from Forrester Research, Inc. put U.S. online retail sales at $316 billion by 2010, accounting for 12 percent of total retail sales.

Forrester predicts above-average growth in the tools, and hardware and garden supply categories, reflecting increased comfort among consumers. Shoppers will also begin to shift from telephone orders to the Internet for certain items, such as flowers.


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