U.S. e-commerce posts its largest gain in nearly two years

August 16, 2016 10:21 AM

The second quarter was a particular bright period for e-commerce in the U.S., according to a report from the U.S. Commerce Department this morning.

The Commerce Department reported online retail sales reached $91.24 billion, a 15.8% increase compared with the same time last year. This is the largest year-over-year growth rate since the third quarter of 2014, when e-commerce sales grew 16.2% compared with the year prior.

In comparison, total retail sales excluding foodservice reached $1.22 trillion during the three months ended June 30, a 2.1% increase. That means e-commerce accounted for approximately 7.5% of total retail sales excluding foodservice—mainly restaurant and bar sales—down from 7.7% in the first quarter of 2016 but up from 6.6% in the second quarter of 2015, the Commerce Department says.

When further excluding sales of autos and fuel—products not commonly bought online—Internet Retailer calculates that e-commerce accounted for approximately 10.9% of total non-adjusted retail sales during the second quarter, up slightly from 10.8% a year ago.

Adjusted for seasonal variations, holiday and trading-day differences, the Commerce Department estimates Q2 web sales reached $97.25 billion, up 15.8% from $83.99 billion a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, e-commerce accounted for 11.6% of total Q2 retail sales excluding foodservice, automobiles and fuel, up from 9.8% in Q2 2015.

These results follow several strong Q2 earnings reports released in recent weeks from some of the web’s largest retail players. Web leader Inc., for example, posted a 28% year-over-year increase in North American sales—most of which come from the U.S. Wayfair Inc. grew sales 72% during the quarter.

Amazon is ranked No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide. Wayfair is No. 24.




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