Total and e-commerce U.S. retail trade sales 2000-2018

In 2018, U.S. e-commerce retail trade sales were worth over 519.6 billion U.S. dollars, up from almost 459 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 .

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. 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 390 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. The most popular category of products on the worldwide e-commerce market is clothing, with 57 percent of online shoppers having purchased clothing online.

Figures for the fourth quarter of 2019 e-commerce sales represent a 11.2 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 approximately 135.35 billion U.S. dollars having been spent on online shopping between November 1st and December 31, 2019.

Total and e-commerce value of U.S. retail trade sales from 2000 to 2018

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Release date

February 2020


United States

Survey time period

2000 to 2018

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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