November 21, 2003, 12:00 AM

Online sales continue their robust growth in Q3, rising 27% from year ago

Online retail sales grew 27% in the third quarter vs. the third quarter of 2002, the Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce reported today, reaching $13.29 billion from $10.46 billion a year ago.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Online retail sales grew 27% in the third quarter vs. the third quarter of 2002, the Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce reported today, reaching $13.29 billion from $10.46 billion a year ago. Total retail sales in Q3 were up 6.1% from Q3 2002, reaching $872.5 billion.

The Q3 2002 online sales number has been revised slightly downward by the Commerce Department from $11.06 billion that it reported a year ago.

Online sales in Q3 accounted for 1.5% of all sales in the Commerce Department’s retail classification, a proportion that has held steady all year and is up form 1.3% a year ago. The Commerce Department’s retail classification includes several categories of retail establishments that are not likely to convert to online, such as eating and drinking places and fuel sales.

For the first three quarters of the year, online sales totaled $37.68 billion, up 26.9% from $29.69 billion in the first three quarters of 2002.

Researchers are projecting continued robust growth in year-over-year online shopping for the fourth quarter. Research company eMarketer Inc., for instance, is projecting a 29% increase to $17.8 billion for the quarter.

While other researchers reported Q3 online sales earlier, many considered the Commerce Department numbers to be authoritative, since the department bases its numbers on a survey of 11,000 retailers and not on consumer activity, as others do.

 

 

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