E-commerce sales hit $29.3 billion in Q4 '06: Dept. of Commerce

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The U.S. retail e-commerce sales estimate for the fourth quarter of 2006 was $29.3 billion, an increase of 6.3 percent from the third quarter of 2006, according to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce.

Total retail sales for the fourth quarter of 2006 were estimated at $990.8 billion, a decrease of 0.2 percent from the third quarter of 2006.

"E-commerce has been increasing as a percentage of the total sales, but it's increasing slowly and still only accounts for a segment of total retail sales," said Aneta Lukasik, service statistician at the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.

The fourth quarter 2006 e-commerce estimate increased 24.6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2005, while total retail sales increased 4.6 percent in the same period. E-commerce sales in the fourth quarter of 2006 accounted for 3.0 percent of total sales.

On a not-adjusted basis, the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the fourth quarter of 2006 totaled $33.9 billion, an increase of 32.2 percent from the third quarter of 2006. (The $29.3 billion estimate reflects an adjustment for seasonal variation, holidays and trading-day differences, but not for price changes).

The fourth quarter 2006 e-commerce estimate increased 25.0 percent from the fourth quarter of 2005, while total retail sales increased 4.0 percent in the same period. E-commerce sales in the fourth quarter of 2006 accounted for 3.3 percent of total sales.

Total e-commerce sales for 2006 were estimated at $108.7 billion, an increase of 23.5 percent from 2005. Total retail sales in 2006 increased 5.8 percent from 2005. E-commerce sales in 2006 accounted for 2.8 percent of total sales. E-commerce sales in 2005 accounted for 2.4 percent of total sales.

ComScore Networks reported similar data, finding that online non-travel spending - excluding event tickets but including auction commissions - increased to $33.1 billion during the fourth quarter of 2006, versus $33.9 billion as estimated by the Department of Commerce.

ComScore's fourth quarter e-commerce sales data were published during the first week of January 2007, six weeks before estimates were released February 16 by the Department of Commerce.

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