Report: E-commerce accounted for 11.7% of total retail sales in 2016, up 15.6% over 2015

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According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales brought in $394.9 billion in 2016.

The Commerce Department reports online sales grew 15.1 percent in 2016 and accounted for 8.1 percent of total retail sales for the year. Internet Retailer, which covered the Commerce Department’s report last week, noted that the Commerce Department’s retail sales data included items not normally bought online, such as fuel and automobile.

Excluding fuel and car sales, Internet Retailer’s calculations showed e-commerce growth slightly higher at 15.6 percent, with online retail sales representing 11.7 percent of total retail sales versus the 8.1 percent reported by the Commerce Department.

“U.S. online retail sales grew faster in 2016 than they have in the past three years,” reports Internet Retailer.

U.S. E-commerce Sales & Web’s Share of Total Retail

(Source: Internet Retailer)

Internet Retailer says total retail sales – factoring out fuel, automobiles, restaurant sales and bar sales from the Commerce Department’s report – reached $3.375 trillion in 2016 – up 3.9 percent from 2015’s total retail sales.

Going by Internet Retailer’s numbers, e-commerce accounted from 41.6 percent of all retail sales growth last year. Internet Retailer also added that the majority of last year’s online sales growth was a result of Amazon. From Internet Retailer’s report:

Here’s proof: The total value of transactions from U.S. consumers on reached $147.0 billion last year, a 31.3% increase compared with $112.0 billion in 2015, according to Internet Retailer and ChannelAdvisor Corp. estimates.

Using these numbers, Internet Retailer says Amazon drove 65.9 percent of U.S. e-commerce growth last year – and 27.4 percent of total retail sales growth.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including,, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


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