Government Says E-Commerce Sales Stall in Q3

E-commerce sales in the third quarter of 2001 in the United States were up 0.2 percent from the second quarter, according to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce.

The government’s estimate, which does not include online purchases of travel and financial services, found that e-commerce sales were 0.9 percent of total sales in the third quarter, the same percentage e-commerce sales accounted for in the second quarter of 2001 and the third quarter of 2000.

According to the Department of Commerce numbers, U.S. e-commerce sales for the third quarter, not adjusted for seasonal, holiday, and trading-day differences were estimated at $7.472 billion, an increase of 8.3 percent from the third quarter of 2000.

The Nielsen//NetRatings and Harris Interactive eCommercePulse study, which measures 14 product categories including travel, found that $16.3 billion was spent online in Q3 2001, a 60 percent increase from the third quarter of 2000 when consumers spent $10.3 billion online.

Travel was actually the top category in the study, with nearly $4.3 billion in online spending in Q3 2001, increasing 53 percent compared to Q3 2000. Clothing and apparel jumped 77 percent to nearly $1.5 billion during the third quarter this year, while auctions took in more than $1.2 billion.

“Building on a growing number of online users, increased likelihood of shopping, and higher average spending, e-commerce continues to post solid year-over-year gains,” said Sean Kaldor, vice president of analytical services at NetRatings. “Posting 60 percent growth in the face of a challenging economy is a remarkable achievement, and key categories such as apparel and auctions were critical to that success.”

Third Quarter E-Commerce Spending
Category Q3 2001
Q3 2000
Travel Services $4,258 $2,788 53%
Clothing/Apparel $1,482 $839 77%
Auctions $1,215 $626 94%
Computer Hardware $1,137 $928 22%
Books $798 $447 79%
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings & Harris Interactive

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