There appears to be the potential for continued growth in e-commerce sales. Paul A Ebeling Jr has reported for Live Trading News on Feb. 17, 2013, e-Commerce Retail Sales Rise Nearly 16% in Q-4. The US Census Bureau has said that adjusted online sales jumped 15.6 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2012. And on an unadjusted basis, sales rose 15.8 percent.
Paul Ausick has also reported on this story for 24/7 Wall St, E-commerce Retail Sales Rise Nearly 16% in Q4. The adjusted e-commerce sales of $59.5 billion made up 5.4 percent of total retail sales of $1.1 trillion. This has been highest percentage since the Census Bureau first began keeping track of online sales in the fourth quarter of 1999, at which time e- commerce retail sales were just 0.6 percent of total retail sales.
A question which we might now consider is the impact of more states forcing online retailers like Amazon.com Inc. to collect sales taxes. Although retailers such as Best Buy Co. Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. that have been paying sales tax on e-commerce sales have been unaffected by the new collection efforts, they nevertheless have probably not been helped by it either.
Over the course of the entire year, e-commerce sales totaled $225.5 billion, which was up 15.8 percent from 2011. The total retail sales rose 5 percent year-over-year. The growth in online retail sales has been three times faster than overall retail sales growth. Although online sales are not likely to catch up anytime soon, retailers who do not have significant online sales are clearly missing a major opportunity for growth.