Retail

eCommerce Sales Jump 12.4 Pct In Q1

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Sales done digitally continue to gain ground across U.S. commerce.

The Commerce Department reported Friday (May 17) that eCommerce sales were up 12.4 percent from last year to $127.3 billion, measured in terms of non-seasonally-adjusted data.

The department said that, in terms of data adjusted for seasonal variability but not for price, eCommerce sales hit an all-time high of $137.7 billion in the first quarter.

The 12.4 percent pace of growth far outpaced that of total retail sales, which gained 2 percent in the quarter. The most recent eCommerce numbers show that for the first quarter, online commerce was 10.2 percent of total sales.

And eCommerce sales have doubled through the past five years, noted Seeking Alpha, reaching a recent threshold last year of more than $500 billion.

The Commerce Department also said in its Friday release that as measured against fourth-quarter data, eCommerce sales gained 3.6 percent (down 19.7 percent on a non-adjusted basis), while retail sales were unchanged (down 11.8 percent unadjusted).

In anecdotal evidence of the traction that digital sales are gaining at marquee retailers — and where general trends echoed the aforementioned Commerce Depart data during earnings season — Walmart stated that its eCommerce sales grew by 37 percent. Management said on the earnings call with investors that online sales were driven largely by gains in apparel and home goods. The latest tally for Walmart represents an acceleration of growth in online sales compared to the 33 percent growth Walmart logged a year ago. It also marks a decline in the 43 percent growth logged during the holiday season in the fourth quarter.

As measured as a percentage of total retail sales, eCommerce has steadily gained bigger slices of the pie. The Commerce Department reported that, before the latest 10.2 percent, the tally was 9.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, and 9.4 percent a year ago in the first quarter of 2018, as measured in seasonally-adjusted terms.

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