US E-Commerce Sales Jump 14.3% in 2016 Q4, Now 8.3% of Total Retail

Today The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce reported quarterly results for US E-Commerce 2016 Q4.

E-commerce sales were $102.67 billion, up by 14.3% from the year before, and $123.61 billion, up by 14%, unadjusted for price changes and seasionality. The unadjusted figure is explained as “Estimates are adjusted for seasonal variation, but not for price changes. Total sales estimates are also adjusted for trading-day differences and moving holidays”.

14.3% is slower than previous 2016 quarters, all growing by more than 15%. But overall US-Commerce growth has remained strong. The Census Bureau of the Department also reports that US retail as a whole has grown 4.1% last quarter, one of the strongest quarters in a while.

US E-commerce is now 8.3% up from 7.5% last year of total US retail volume

US E-commerce is now 8.3%, up from 7.5% last year, of total US retail volume, and 9.3%, up from 8.7% last year, unadjusted for price changes and seasonality. This is the highest the percentage has ever been.

The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce has previously reported that in 2016 Q3 US e-commerce was 8.4% of retail sales, but have since adjusted the value down to 8.3%. So US e-commerce has remained at 8.3% for both quarters.

In comparison, it is estimated that 12.6% of China’s retail happens online.

Based on our own analysis, Amazon was responsible for 42.5% of total US e-commerce in 2016 Q4, an increase from 39.8% last year. Amazon continues to grow faster by roughly 10% than the rest of e-commerce businesses, so they should soon reach a half of all e-commerce volume.

The expanding online sales market means more opportunities for sellers. The goal for sellers should be to be growing as fast as Amazon is, or at least as fast as the overall e-commerce growth. 15% should be the benchmark growth rate for every online business.

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Juozas "Joe" Kaziuk─Śnas

Founder of Marketplace Pulse, Joe wears multiple hats in the management of Marketplace Pulse, including writing most of the articles. Based in New York City. Advisor to other startups and entrepreneurs. Occasional speaker at conferences.

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