RealTime IT News

E-Commerce Goes on a Roll

Despite the IT downturn, a ravaged stock market and the threat of war with Iraq, the e-commerce economy in the United States keeps growing, to the tune of a 34 percent year-over-year increase for the third quarter, government figures show.

In fact, the U.S. Commerce Department says that retail e-commerce sales for the third quarter of 2002 came to an estimated $11.061 billion, up from an estimated $10.243 billion for the second quarter.

Meanwhile, measurement and analysis firm comScore Networks said its figures show that holiday e-shopping is in full swing, with consumer sales for the week ending Nov. 17 (including travel) reaching $1.5 billion, up 28 percent versus year-ago.

And Goldman Sachs & Company, Harris Interactive and Nielsen//NetRatings reported the first findings of their Holiday 2002 eSpending Report, which showed that during the week ending Nov. 15, consumers spent about 28 percent more online than in the same week a year ago.

Where is all this spending coming from?

It turns out that shoppers in San Francisco and New York turn to the Internet more than consumers anywhere else in the country, according to a new report.

In fact, the large coastal cities that dominate the off-line retail world also lead the pack online, according to America Online's first-ever "Online Shopping Cities" report, based on a survey of 7,000 consumers. Third in e-spending was Sacramento, Calif., followed by Los Angeles, Boston, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Baltimore and Washington, DC.

The rankings were based on based on the average number of times consumers research or purchase products and services online per month, along with the average dollar amount spent online for products and services each month.

E-commerce clearly is on a roll as more consumers fall in love with the convenience factor. For a lot of shoppers, however, there's nothing like a trip to the mall.

The Census Bureau report figures offer some perspective - total retail sales for the third quarter were estimated at $827.5 billion, an increase of 5.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

E-commerce sales in the third quarter this year accounted for 1.3 percent of total sales, while in the third quarter of 2001 they were 1.1 percent of total sales, the Commerce Department said.

The Commerce Department figures are based on a survey of about 11,000 retailers and then extrapolated. The government figures for some reason exclude estimates for some popular online purchases, such as airline and concert tickets and spending at online brokerages.

The Census Bureau defines e-commerce sales as sales of goods and services where an order is placed by the buyer or price and terms of sale are negotiated over the Internet, an extranet, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) network, electronic mail, or other online system. Payment may or may not be made online.