The U.S. Census Bureau said that retail purchases online came to an estimated
$8.69 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, up from third quarter 2000
sales of $6.39 billion.
The bureau, a unit of the
Commerce Department, said that for the
first time, retail sales over the Internet accounted for 1 percent of all
sales across the country. In the third quarter last year, retail Internet
sales accounted for 0.8 percent of total purchases.
Total retail sales for the fourth quarter of 2000 were estimated at $856.2
billion. Total e-commerce sales for 2000 were estimated at $25.8 billion
while total retail sales for 2000 were estimated at $3,232 billion.
The $25 billion figure sounds like a lot until one realizes that total
spending in the United States is measured in the trillions. This is the fifth
such quarterly survey the bureau has done.
In 1999, consumers spent $17.3 billion on Internet purchases, more than
double the $7.7 billion spent in 1998, the report shows. Retail e-commerce
sales are estimated from the same sample used in the bureau’s Monthly Retail
Trade Survey (MRTS) to estimate preliminary and final U.S. retail sales.
The government said e-commerce sales are sales of goods and services over the
Internet, an extranet, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), or other online
system. Payment may or may not be made online.
Online travel services, financial brokers and dealers, and ticket sales
agencies are not classified as retail and are not included in either the
total retail or retail e-commerce sales estimates.