Online retail sales in the third quarter grew 5.7% on an adjusted basis over the third quarter of 2007, reaching $34.4 billion, the Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce announced today.
By contrast, total retail sales in the third quarter increased 0.3% to $1.02 billion. The total retail sales numbers, however, are skewed by the high cost of gasoline and food. Sales in those categories were up 17.8% and 5.1%, respectively, in the quarter over the year-earlier quarter. Gasoline and food and beverage sales represent about 30% of retail sales.
The Commerce Department’s report of e-commerce sales growth is supported by Internet usage measurement company comScore Inc., which reported last week that Q3 sales were up 6%. Third-quarter growth reported by both is the slowest in the history of online retailing.
On a not-adjusted basis, e-commerce sales grew 4.6% in Q3 from Q3 2007. The Commerce Department’s numbers are based on a survey of 12,500 retailers.