February 28, 2008, 12:00 AM

E-commerce sales rise 19% last year in U.S.

Online sales continued to far outpace overall retail sales in the U.S. last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce reports. Retail e-commerce sales grew 19% in 2007 to $136.4 billion, up from $114.62 billion in 2006, as overall retail sales increased 4%.

Online retail sales continued to far outpace overall retail sales in the U.S. last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce reports. Retail e-commerce sales grew 19% to $136.4 billion, up from $114.62 billion in 2006, as overall retail sales increased 4%, it says.

Retail e-commerce also accounted for a rising percentage of total U.S. retail sales last year-3.4%, up from 2.9% in 2006, the Commerce Department reports.

The Commerce Department retail sales figure, however, includes many sales that are not likely to occur online-such as restaurant, convenience store, gasoline and heating fuel receipts. Excluding such sales, Internet Retailer estimates about 6% of U.S. retail sales occur online.

The Commerce Department figures are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes.

In the fourth quarter, U.S. e-commerce sales totaled $36.2 billion, 18% more than the same quarter in 2006, while total retail sales increased 4.7%, the Commerce Department says.

ComScore Inc. reported lower figures, pegging growth last year at 20.2% to $122.7 billion from $102.1 billion in 2006. For the 2007 November-December holiday shopping season, retail e-commerce spending reached $29.2 billion, up 18.7% from $24.6 billion in 2006 and up 137.4% from $12.3 billion in 2003, comScore says.

paul@verticalwebmedia.com

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