Data released from the U.S. Department of Commerce on Thursday (Sept. 15) revealed that the eCommerce market took a small dip in sales during the third quarter.
Though the Q3 figures showed online sales have grown 10.9 percent in August, which is a healthy gain for the quarter, it’s still not as strong as last quarter’s numbers, Internet Retailer reported.
Q2 saw eCommerce sales increase by 15.8 percent, the biggest year-over-year gain in roughly two years. In July, sales jumped by 14.1 percent and 14.2 percent in June.
The Monthly Retail Trade Report for August also showed that non-store sales increased 11.9 percent in the three-month period of June through August as compared to the same period last year.
The “non-store sales” category described by the Commerce Department includes online sales, as well as sales from less-profitable retail sectors, such as mail and phone orders and door-to-door sales.
Earlier this year, projections delivered only moderate retail growth expectations for the year.
Few pundits were looking at 2016 to be a blockbuster year for retail sales. In fact, the National Retail Foundation released its 2015 economic forecast in February with estimates of just a 3.1 percent growth rate for retail sales in 2016. This represents an improvement over the 10-year average of 2.7 percent. The picture is even rosier for non-store sales, with growth falling anywhere from 6 to 9 percent by the time 2017 rolls around.
“Wage stagnation is easing, jobs are being created and consumer confidence remains steady, so despite the headwinds our economy faces from international developments — particularly in China — we think 2016 will be favorable for growth in the retail industry,” Matthew Shay, president and CEO at NRF, said in a statement.
“All of the experts agree that the consumer is in the driver’s seat and steering our economic recovery. The best thing the government can do is stay out of the way, stop proposing rules and regulations that create hurdles toward greater capital investment and focus on policies that help retailers provide increased income and job stability for their employees.”
While the numbers might not be what retailers want to see right now, Shay said they’re an indication those ideal sales estimates are only a few years away.