Total and e-commerce U.S. retail trade sales 2000-2017

This timeline shows the value of U.S. retail trade sales in total figures compared to the share of e-commerce since 2000. In 2017, U.S. e-commerce retail trade sales were worth over 461 billion U.S. dollars, up from more than 397 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.

Retail is the process through which services and consumer goods, whether food, electronics or household items, are sold to customers through various channels of distribution. The most widespread and still the most profitable form of retail is shop-based, notwithstanding the size or location of the establishment, from small town mom–and–pop groceries to shopping-mall flagship stores. Due to the ubiquity of desktop and mobile computers and devices, as well as through the worldwide propagation of the internet, a new form of retail has emerged: e-commerce.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) electronic transactions, also known as online shopping, allow customers to browse products on internet pages of web-only retailers, such as Amazon, the leading United States e-retailer as of 2014 in terms of sales, as well as number of monthly visitors. Additionally, they can access web pages of retailers with both online and offline outlets, such as Wal-Mart, which is the most successful retailer in the United States, based on online and offline sales of over 374 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. The most popular category of products on the worldwide e-commerce market is clothing, with 57 percent of total online sales.

Figures for the fourth quarter of 2018 e-commerce sales represent a ten percent share of total retail sales in the United States, an increase from only a four percent share in the first quarter of 2010. Spending particularly spikes around the holiday season, with more than 53 million U.S. dollars having been spent on online shopping between November 1st and December 21st of 2014. An increasing amount of online shopping is done using mobile devices. In the fourth quarter of 2014, mobile e-commerce spending in the United States surpassed 10 billion U.S. dollars for the first time.

Total and e-commerce value of U.S. retail trade sales from 2000 to 2017

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Release date

April 2019


United States

Survey time period

2000 to 2017

Supplementary notes

Estimates include data for businesses with or without paid employees. Figures regarding 2014 and earlier have been restated with the 2015 release.
Source states that the most recent estimates have been adjusted using final results of the 2012 Economic Census.
E-commerce sales are sales of goods and services where the buyer places an order, or the price and terms of the sale are negotiated, over an Internet, mobile device (M-commerce), extranet, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) network, electronic mail, or other comparable online system. Payment may or may not be made online.

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Statistics on "E-commerce in the United States"

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