RealTime IT News

Online Sales Keep On Growing

The government says that U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of this year were an estimated $9.849 billion, up about 19 percent from the first quarter a year ago but down from last year's holiday-packed fourth quarter estimate of $11.2 billion.

The figures from the Commerce Department's Census Bureau are based on a survey of about 11,000 retailers.

Total retail sales for the first quarter were estimated at $743.8 billion, so e-commerce represented about 1.3 percent of total sales, up from about 1.1 percent of the total in the first quarter of 2001.

The government figures for some reason exclude estimates for some popular online purchases, such as airline and concert tickets and spending at online brokerages.

When the government first started making e-commerce retail sales estimates, e-commerce sales were .7 percent of total sales, in the fourth quarter of 1999. The figures are not adjusted to account for holidays or other seasonal factors.

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 an Internet, extranet, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) network, electronic mail, or other online system. Payment may or may not be made online.

The text of the government report is available here.