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Economy in Brief

U.S. E-Commerce Sales Improve in Q3'22
by Tom Moeller  November 18, 2022

• Sales rise for fourth straight quarter.

• Changes in sales are uneven across categories.

Online retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 3.0% (10.8% y/y) in Q3’22 following increases of 3.1% and 2.6% in the prior two quarters, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. E-Commerce sales accounted for 14.8% of total retail sales in Q3'22 and has been steady at that level since 2020.

To the upside, sales of nonstore retailers, which accounted for 55.9% of total E-Commerce, rose 1.8% last quarter (NSA, 14.8% y/y) following a 10.8% rise in Q2. Sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument & book sales strengthened 4.8% (13.5% y/y) after rising 5.5%. Sales of furniture & home furnishings improved 3.0% in Q3 (6.5% y/y) after a 5.0% rise. Electronics & appliance store sales improved 0.5% in Q3 (-6.6% y/y) after declining sharply for two straight quarters. Food & beverage purchases held steady (+3.2% y/y), also following two consecutive quarters of decline.

Falling were general merchandise store sales, down 1.9% last quarter (6.0% y/y) after rising 9.4% in Q2. Clothing accessory store sales eased 0.4% (+8.9% y/y) after rising 7.0%. Building materials & garden equipment sales declined 11.4% in Q3 (+14.9% y/y) after rising 27.4%. Miscellaneous sales including gasoline stations fell 4.2% (+15.7% y/y) after rising 10.7% in Q2. Motor vehicle & parts sales weakened 5.1% (+1.0% y/y) following a 4.5% rise.

These details of the E-Commerce data by sector are not seasonally adjusted.

E-commerce sales are goods and services ordered 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 and sometimes sale & price are negotiated. Total sales estimates are adjusted for seasonal variation, but not for price changes. They 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.

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