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Online Sales in US Top $186 Billion

Sales see biggest spike since recession.

Online sales in the U.S. grew by 15 percent last year, making 2012 the year with the biggest increase in Internet sales since before the recession.

According to researcher comScore, sales jumped to $186.2 billion in 2012, with the final quarter of the year growing by 14 percent and reaching $56.8 billion. That made 2012’s fourth quarter the first quarter to surpass $50 billion and the 13th quarter in a row to see positive year-over-year growth.

“It is clear that the online channel has won over the American consumer and will increasingly be relied upon to deliver on the dimensions of lower price, convenience and selection”

“2012 was a year in which—for the most part—ecommerce continued to grow strongly, despite an uneven macroeconomic environment showing signs of recovery but also cause for continued concern,” notes comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni.

“With ecommerce growth rates consistently in the mid-teens throughout the year, it is clear that the online channel has won over the American consumer and will increasingly be relied upon to deliver on the dimensions of lower price, convenience and selection,” he continues.

The average growth for each quarter of 2012 was 15.25 percent. The first quarter saw the biggest increase at 17 percent year over year.

Fulgoni says the only “blemish” for online sales in 2012 was the holiday season, which fell shy of expectations because of consumers’ concerns over the fiscal cliff.

“To the extent that this pullback was just a temporary shock and not a sign of underlying economic weakness, we are optimistic that 2013 will build on the momentum of the past year,” he continues.

The categories with the most online sales in 2012 were digital content and subscriptions, consumer electronics, toys and hobbies, apparel and accessories, and books and magazines. Each of these saw at least 15-percent year-over-year growth, comScore reports.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.



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