E-Retail Sales Grow Twice as Fast as Brick-And-Mortar Sales

Total U.S. sales of goods online continues a trend of growing twice as fast as total sales of retail goods, the Commerce Department reports.

Compared with the first quarter of 2010, e-retail sales grew 2.6 percent, while total retail sales grew only 1.1 percent. Similarly, compared with the second quarter of 2009, e-retail sales grew 14 percent, compared with a lackluster 7.5 percent growth for the economy as a whole.

Total retail still dwarfs e-commerce in sheer volume. In 2010, second quarter e-retail sales were $39.7 billion, compared with total retail sales of $971.4 billion. In 2009, second quarter e-retail sales were $34.8 billion, compared with total sales of $903.8 billion.

This data, released by the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce in August, was adjusted to account for seasonal variations. The government started collecting this data in 2000, when e-commerce sales for the second quarter totaled $6.5 billion, a 511% gain over 10 years, or 51.1 percent per year.

According to a report from Daily Finance, the AOL Money site, four online retailers — Amazon, Dell, Staples, and Costco — made up 26 percent of second-quarter online spending from “heavy” users, that is, the most active 20 percent of Web shoppers. Those customers bought an average of $615 in goods during the second quarter, versus a $30 average for the lower half of online shoppers.