February 24, 2004
U.S. retail sales over the Internet and other electronic networks surged in Q4, making up a record share -- almost 2% -- of total retail sales, the Commerce Department said Monday.
E-commerce sales -- purchases over the Internet, e-mail or other electronic networks -- rose to $17.23B in Q4, a 29.7% increase over Q3. Overall retail sales rose 5.2% in Q4.
The increase in e-commerce purchases was the third straight quarterly rise but was less than the 31.6% gain seen in the Q4 of 2002.
Online shopping for the holidays was already known to have surged.
Analysts closely watch retail sales as they make up nearly 40% of overall personal spending, which itself comprises about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
In Monday's report, the share of total retail sales accounted for by e-commerce reached its highest level since the Commerce Department began tracking it in 1999 -- 1.9%, up from 1.5% in Q3 of 2003.
Compared to Q4 of 2002, e-commerce purchases rose by 25.1% in Q4 of 2003, while overall retail sales gained a smaller 6.2%.
The report, unlike most data compiled by the Commerce Department, is not adjusted for seasonal or holiday-related variations, sharply limiting its usefulness to analysts.
Back to the Top