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Gov's E-Commerce Stats Surging

U.S. retail e-commerce sales continued their meteoric rise in 2004, according to fourth-quarter stats released by the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce today.

On a non-adjusted basis, e-commerce sales reached $21.4 billion for the fourth quarter of 2004, a 22 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago.

The Census Bureau reported on a non-adjusted basis that U.S. retail sales for the fourth quarter reached $987.6 billion, of which e-commerce sales accounted for 2.2 percent, which was up from 1.9 percent the same time a year before.

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.



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