For the full year, U.S. retail e-commerce sales reached $186.2 billion, an increase of 15 percent over 2011, according to the latest comScore figures. That means 2012 had the strongest annual growth rate since before the recession, says the online tracking firm.
Fourth quarter online sales grew 14 percent year-over-year to $56.8 billion, marking the first ever $50 billion quarter. It also represents the13 consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and ninth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. The 14-percent year-over-year growth of retail e-commerce spending in Q4 was driven by a 6-percent increase in the number of buyers and an 8-percent increase in spending per buyer.
|Retail E-Commerce (Non-Travel) Growth Rates
Excludes Auctions, Autos and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. – Home & Work Locations (excl. Mobile)
|Y/Y Percent Change|
“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.”
The only real blemish on an otherwise outstanding year for e-commerce was a holiday season that fell shy of initial expectations, apparently due to consumers’ fiscal cliff concerns, said Fulgoni. “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.”
U.S. Retail E-Commerce spending reached 10 percent of total U.S. retail spending for comparable categories (excluding food, gas and auto), the first time it has reached double-digits.
Meanwile, global Internet retail sales in 2012 topped $1 trillion (USD) for the first time. A report by eMarketer said ecommerce consumer sales grew 21.1 percent and are expected to grow another 18.3 per cent in 2013, fueled by strong growth in Asia.
The research firm said North America remained the top region for ecommerce in 2012 with $364 billion in sales, up 13.9 percent. But for 2013, the Asia-Pacific region is likely to be number one with 30 percent growth, which would bring the market to $433 billion.
For 2012, Japan was in second place at $127 billion, followed by Britain ($124 billion) and China ($110 billion). But China was projected to vault into second place with 65 percent growth in 2013 to $181 billion. The US will remain the top market but growth will slow to 12 percent, for a total of $384 billion.
“Average spending per user is lower in China — set to reach just $670 this year,” eMarketer said in a statement. “But the sheer growth in China’s digital buyers is staggering. The country will nearly double the number of people who buy goods online between 2012 and 2016.”
The data used by eMarketer includes retail sales, travel sales, digital downloads purchased via any digital channel but excludes gambling and event tickets.