US: E-Commerce Retail Sales

Tue Feb 17 09:00:00 CST 2015

Actual Previous Revised
E-Sales Q/Q Change SAAR 2.3% 4.0% 3.6%

Growth in e-commerce, in perhaps a surprise, is slowing. Fourth-quarter e-commerce sales rose a quarter-to-quarter 2.3 percent, noticeably slower than gains of 3.6 percent (revised) and 5.0 percent in the two prior quarters. Still, the share of e-commerce relative to total retail sales did inch higher, up 1 tenth to a record 6.7 percent.

Year-on-year, e-commerce sales rose 14.6 percent in the fourth quarter. Though this is down from 15.8 percent in each of the 2 prior quarters, the gain is roughly 3 times greater than the year-on-year percentage gain for total core retail sales (ex-auto ex-gas) which was just under 5 percent in the quarter.

E-commerce sales are sales of goods and services where an order is placed by the buyer or where price and terms of sale are negotiated over the Internet, an extranet, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) network, or other online system. Payment may or may not be made online. Retail e-commerce sales are estimated from the same sample used for the Monthly Retail Trade Survey (MRTS) to estimate preliminary and final U.S. retail sales. Advance U.S. retail sales are estimated from a subsample of the MRTS sample that is not of adequate size to measure changes in retail e-commerce sales.

E-commerce is a faster growing segment of the retail sector than retail sales overall. This report provides detail on e-commerce retail sales and data on its share of total retail sales. The growth rates and shares of e-commerce can be used as a benchmark to compare individual companies' growth in e-commerce. E-commerce increasingly is important for retailers' profitability and viability.