The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2008, adjusted for seasonal variation, but not for price changes, was $33.8 billion, an increase of 0.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007. Total retail sales for the first quarter of 2008 were estimated at $1,024.2 billion, an increase of 0.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007. The first quarter 2008 e-commerce estimate increased 13.6 percent from the first quarter of 2007 while total retail sales increased 2.8 percent in the same period. E-commerce sales in the first quarter of 2008 accounted for 3.3 percent of total sales.
The above graph shows continuous growth (aka, inflation) in retail and e-commerce. In 2002, e-commerce owned 1.3 percent of the retail market. By the end of the first quarter 2008, the estimated retail market share was the same as the last quarter in 2007: 3.3 percent. That may not be earth shaking but it is still nearly a 300 percent gain in 5 years.
When annual retail and e-commerce sales are compared, the figures get more impressive. From the beginning of 2002 to the end of 2007, traditional venues of retail sales increased 30 percent. Over the same period, e-commerce sales increased by 185 percent–not exactly a feat to be laughed at.
What could increase e-retailing sales even more?
In my opinion, someone needs to invent virtual manufacturing and distribution comparable to the Jettisons–you baby boomers know what I’m talking about. That way, anything you want can be had nearly instantaneously over the Internet, cellular, or by satellite. Think of it in terms of Star Trekk. Instead of “beam me up, Scottie, retail commerce would be something like “download my goodies” or “beam down my order, thank you very much!” Now, such an invention would revolutionize e-retailing.