February 18, 2014, 11:03 AM

E-retail rolls in 2013

E-commerce spending increases nearly 17% in 2013, and 16% in the fourth quarter of last year, the U.S. Commerce Department says.

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Online shoppers in the United States spent $69.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 16.1% from approximately $59.6 billion for the fourth quarter of 2012, according to figures released today by the U.S. Commerce Department. Total retail sales, meanwhile, increased 3.8% year over year.

E-commerce sales accounted for 6.0% of total retail sales in the fourth quarter, compared with 5.4% for the same period on 2012, according to the Commerce Department.

For the full year 2013, e-commerce sales reached $262.51 billion, up 16.9% from the previous year, according to the department’s seasonally adjusted figures. By comparison, total retail sales increased 4.2% year over year in 2013.

E-commerce sales in 2013 accounted for 5.8% of total retail sales, up from 5.2% for 2012.

E-commerce as a percentage of total retail sales excluding foodservice—mainly restaurant and bar sales—along with sales of autos and fuel—products not commonly bought online—stood at 6.4% for the fourth quarter, up from 5.9% from the third quarter of 2013 and 5.3% for the fourth quarter of 2014.

That e-commerce percentage stood at 8.8% for the full year 2013.

On an unadjusted basis, the Commerce Department says e-retail sales, excluding foodservice, during the fourth quarter totaled nearly $83.57 billion, up 16.0% from the same period a year ago. It says e-commerce accounted for approximately 7.0% of the quarter’s unadjusted total retail sales of $1.201 trillion. Following the same method outlined above, Internet Retailer calculates e-commerce accounted for 7.7% of unadjusted retail sales of items consumers often purchase online. 

Commerce Department estimates are based on a quarterly survey of more than 11,000 U.S. merchants.

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