Commerce Department to Measure Online Sales’ Impact

In light of the recent boom in the e-commerce industry, the U.S. Commerce Department will start measuring online shopping’s impact on overall retail activity, a major indicator of the country’s economic health.

The plan was announced Friday by Commerce Secretary William M. Daley at a conference discussing the recent growth in the online marketplace. He said that separating online sales demonstrates its prevalence in the retail world.

“Online shopping is booming,” said Daley, with customers exceeding expectations by spending more that $9 billion last year. By 2000, Internet shopping is expected to be a $30 billion industry.

Until now, Internet sales were lumped in with catalog sales in its overall retail sales numbers.

“These Internet sales are not separated out and now we will ask for a separate e-commerce number,” he said.

Figures for 1998 and 1999 are expected to be available in mid-2000.

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