August 22, 2003
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, total U.S. e-commerce sales reached $12.5B in the second quarter of 2003. That's a 28% gain over sales for the same period in 2002. However, the growth paled in comparison with the 26% quarterly leap reported in the first quarter of 2003.
By Matt Hinesr
Worldwide e-commerce sales reached $858.8B during the second quarter of 2003, a 4.9% increase over the same period in 2002, according to the report.
Online retail sales accounted for 1.5% of total sales, compared with 1.2% in the second quarter of 2002.
Industry watchers are expecting e-commerce sales to gain momentum over the rest of 2003. Earlier this year, Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, predicted sales would rise 26%, year over year, to $96B in 2003.
Shop.org said it expects e-commerce to account for 4.5% of retail sales this year, driven by online sales of computers and tickets for travel, movies and other events.
Industry experts said the second-quarter results were consistent with trends emerging in the e-commerce sector over the last six months. Robert Leathern, an analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings, said larger online retailers such as Amazon.com have seen traffic grow on sites of multichannel retailing giants such as Walmart.com.
"The%age of online sales, compared to in-store sales, remains miniscule for retailers like Wal-Mart, but this is a solid growth trend nonetheless," said Leathern.
Leathern pointed to broadband Internet access as an important factor for the e-commerce space. Leading Internet retailers such as Amazon have experienced a 60% growth in broadband users over the last year alone, according to Nielsen research.
"The always-on nature of broadband equates to more sales. There's no waiting involved," Leathern said.
Nielsen has also tracked significant growth among online comparison shopping sites such as MySimon. The slowed economy has increased interest in Web-based comparison shopping among budget-minded consumers searching for the best deal, Leathern said.
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