Online retail sales grew 26.7% in the third quarter from Q3 a year ago, reaching $23.32 billion from $17.6 billion in Q3 2004, on an adjusted basis, the Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce reported today. Total retail sales in that period were up 8.5% on an adjusted basis from the year earlier.
Total retail sales for the third quarter of 2005 were estimated at $957.9 billion compared with $882.8 billion a year earlier.
The Commerce Department also reports a steady increase in the proportion of retail sales that take place online, reaching 2.3% in the third quarter. A year ago, online represented 2% of all sales. However, the Commerce Department measures the proportion of online sales against all retail sales, including those that are never likely to be performed online, such as gasoline and service station sales, other fuel sales, restaurant sales and others. Eliminating those would cause the online proportion to be higher; some observers believe in the 6% range.
On a not adjusted basis, the Commerce Department estimate that U.S. retail e-commerce sales in the third quarter totaled $20.8 billion, up 26.4% from the same quarter a year ago.