Census Bureau: Q2 E-Commerce Sales Hit $15.7 Billion

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U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the second quarter of 2004 were estimated at $15.7 billion, up 23.1 percent from the year-ago period.


The information, released in a report Friday by the Census Bureau, carries a plus or minus 3.5 percent margin of error and was not adjusted for seasonal, holiday or trading-day differences. That will change starting with the third-quarter report.


"It's pretty much smack on target with our projections. We're looking at year-on-year growth of 24 percent," said Patti Freeman Evans, retail analyst at Jupiter Research, New York. "It looks like we're seeing very aggressive growth from new online consumers making purchases for the first time. Also, they're buying a broader set of categories, like home improvement, personal care and event and movie tickets."


The bureau said the second-quarter 2004 estimate rose 0.9 percent -- with a plus or minus 0.9 percent margin of error -- from the 2004 first quarter.


However, total multichannel retail sales grew 10.1 percent (with a plus or minus margin of error of 0.4 percent) in second-quarter 2004 from the prior quarter.


E-commerce sales in the second quarter accounted for 1.7 percent of total retail sales, while the comparable figure for the year-ago quarter was 1.5 percent. E-commerce sales accounted for 1.9 percent of total retail sales in first-quarter 2004.


The bureau reports that total retail sales for the second quarter were estimated at $919 billion, or growth of 7.8 percent from the year-ago period. There was a plus or minus 0.6 percent margin of error to this estimate.


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