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Economy in Brief

E-Commerce Sales Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  November 20, 2019

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that during the third quarter of this year, retail sales via the internet (E-Commerce) increased 5.0% (SA) from Q2. The gain followed a revised 4.8% Q2 rise, and was the strongest quarterly increase since the fourth quarter of 2011.

E-Commerce sales increased 16.9% y/y, the strongest gain since Q4 2011.

This strength compares to a lesser 1.4% quarterly rise (4.0% y/y) in retail sales overall last quarter. As a result, E-Commerce sales rose to 11.2% of total retail sales, up from 9.9% in 2018 and 4.4% in 2010.

E-commerce sales are sales of goods and services where the buyer places an order, or the price and terms of the sale are negotiated over an Internet, mobile device (M-commerce), extranet, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) network, electronic mail, or other comparable online system. Payment may or may not be made online. Estimates are adjusted for seasonal variation, but not for price changes. Total sales estimates are also adjusted for trading-day differences and moving holidays.

The retail sales and retail E-Commerce sales data can be found in Haver's USECON database.

The minutes to the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

Q3'19 Q2'19 Q1'19 Q3'19 Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
E-Commerce Sales 5.0 4.8 4.0 16.9 13.5 16.0 14.6
Total Retail Sales  Purchase 1.4 1.8 0.3 4.0 4.6 4.5 2.4
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