comScore: Retail e-commerce up 15% over last year

Reston, Va. -- A report released Thursday by comScore found that retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. rose to $186.2 billion in 2012, an increase of 15% and the strongest annual growth rate since before the recession.

Fourth quarter 2012 sales grew 14% year-over-year to $56.8 billion, marking the first-ever $50 billion quarter. It also represents the 13th consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and ninth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth.
"2012 was a year in which – for the most part – e-commerce continued to grow strongly, despite an uneven macroeconomic environment showing signs of recovery but also cause for continued concern," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "With e-commerce 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.”

Fourth-quarter e-commerce highlights include:

  • The top-performing online product categories were: Digital Content & Subscriptions, Consumer Electronics, Toys & Hobbies, Apparel & Accessories, and Books & Magazines. Each category grew at least 15% versus a year ago.
  • U.S. retail e-commerce spending reached 10% of total U.S. retail spending for comparable categories (excluding food, gas & auto), the first time reaching double-digits.
  • The 14% year-over-year growth in fourth quarter was driven by a 6% increase in the number of buyers and an 8% increase in spending per buyer.
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