U.S. E-Commerce Q1 Sales Up $9.8B Over Q1 2001: Census Department

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E-commerce sales in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2002 fell 11.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2001, but were up 19.3 percent over the first quarter of 2001, according to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce.

The estimate was not adjusted for seasonal, holiday and trading-day differences.

U.S. e-commerce retail sales for the first quarter of 2001 were $9.849 billion, according to the Census Department. Total retail sales for the first quarter of 2002 were estimated at $743.8 billion, an increase of 2.7 percent over the same quarter last year.

E-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2002 decreased by 11.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2001, the census department said, while total retail sales decreased 13.1 percent from the prior quarter.

Last year, the Census Department reported that U.S. retail e-commerce sales in first-quarter 2001 were $6.99 billion, up 33.5 percent from first-quarter 2000 sales of $5.24 billion.

And while e-commerce is still a tiny percentage of total retail sales, it has reportedly been edging up slightly.

E-commerce sales in the first quarter of 2002 accounted for 1.3 percent of total retail sales while e-commerce sales in the first quarter of 2001 accounted for 1.1 percent of total retail sales, the Census Department said.

E-commerce sales accounted for 1.3 percent of total sales in the fourth quarter of 2001, the department reported.

To reach its conclusions, the Census Department claims, it samples approximately 11,000 companies, and weights and benchmarks their sales to represent a universe of two million retail firms.

The firms were asked to report monthly sales separately.

The Census Department report available at http://www.census.gov/mrts/www/current.html leaves out some highly popular e-commerce categories. It does not classify online travel services, financial brokers and dealers and ticket sales agencies as retailers.

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