Census Bureau: E-Commerce Sales Rise 25.1% in Q4

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U.S. online retail sales for fourth-quarter 2003 were $17.2 billion, up 25.1 percent from the year-ago period, the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce said yesterday.


Confirming its status as one of the few fast-growing sectors in retail, e-commerce sales in the fourth quarter rose 29.7 percent from the third quarter. Total retail sales, including online numbers, in the fourth quarter were up only 5.2 percent from the prior quarter.


E-commerce sales in the fourth quarter accounted for 1.9 percent of total retail sales, compared with 1.6 percent in the same period in 2002 and 1.5 percent in the third quarter.


Total retail sales, including online, for fourth-quarter 2003 were estimated at $918.2 billion, a 6.2 percent increase from the same timeframe in 2002.


Overall, the Census Bureau estimated total e-commerce sales for 2003 at $54.9 billion, a 26.3 percent increase from 2002. E-commerce sales last year accounted for 1.6 percent of total retail sales versus 1.3 percent in 2002. Total retail sales last year rose 5.4 percent.


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