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Fourth quarter e-commerce sales up 2.2 percent at $18.4 billion

February 25, 2005

According to 4th quarter sales statistics released by the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce today, retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. resumed their explosive growth last year. On a non-adjusted basis, total e-commerce sales in the U.S. were pegged at $21.4 billion for the 4th quarter of last year, a 22.1 percent increase over the same quarter for 2003.

The numbers reflect retail online sales but do not include sales of online travel services, financial brokers and dealers.

On an adjusted basis, which takes into account holiday and trading-day variation, total retail sales for the same quarter were $938.5 billion, of which $18.4 billion (2.0 percent) was classified as e-commerce.

Continuing the trend reported last quarter, the Census Bureau numbers also indicate that e-commerce sales on a percentage growth basis outpaced total retail sales growth on both sequential and year-over-year comparisons. On a non-adjusted basis, total retail sales grew 7 percent over the previous quarter and 8.3 percent on a year-over-year basis (adjusted 2.4 percent quarterly and 8.2 year over year).

By comparison, e-commerce sales grew by 29.4 percent over the previous quarter on a non-adjusted basis and by 22.3 percent on a year-over-year basis (adjusted 4.7 quarterly and 22.1 year over year). The Census Bureau estimated that 2004 e-commerce sales hit $69.2 billion, which represents a 23.5 percent increase over 2003. Retail sales as a whole only increased by 7.8 percent over 2003.

The growth of e-commerce in 2004 also meant that it accounted for and increased overall percentage of retail sales, as well. In 2003, e-commerce sales accounted for 1.6 percent of total U.S. retail sales while in 2004 that number grew to 1.9 percent -- an increase of 18.8 percent.

Source: Internet News

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