Tag Archives: U.S. E-Commerce Growth

Predicting U.S. E-Commerce Growth Through 2013

How quickly is U.S. e-commerce expected to grow in the near future? In an earlier post, we looked at total U.S. e-commerce sales for the period 2000 through 2009. As illustrated at the end of that post, it is clear that growth in e-commerce plummeted from 2007 through 2009. Total U.S. sales via e-commerce in 2010 reached $166.5 billion, growing 15.28 percent over the previous year. As impressive as that is, it represents only 4.28 percent of total U.S. retail sales. While e-commerce as a percent of U.S. retail sales continues to grow, as illustrated in the table below, it accounts for less than five percent of total U.S. retail sales.

E-Commerce as a percent of total U.S. retail sales In a recent article co-written with Dr. Godwin C. Ariguzo (@ariguzo), we predict that by the end of 2013, total U.S. e-commerce sales will reach a level of $254.7 billion. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 52.94 percent for the period 2010-2013. Overall, the CAGR for the period 2000-2013 is projected to be 18.65 percent, which is less than the CAGR for the 2000-2010 period (19.70 percent). The table below presents the quarterly growth of U.S. e-commerce since 2000 and the projected growth per quarter through 2013. The projected growth was calculated using a Holt-Winters technique in time series analysis.

Holt Winters Projection U.S. E-Commerce Sales Through 2013Graphically, the projected annual growth for U.S. E-Commerce sales looks like this:

US E-Commerce Sales Trend Line through 2013

How does this compare to the overall growth rate in U.S. e-commerce reported in the earlier post? For consistency, the same summary tables were developed for this investigation (but are not included in the article with Dr. Ariguzo referenced above). The table below presents the actual growth rate through 2010 and the projected growth rate through 2013.

US E-Commerce Growth Rate Projected Thru 2013The recovery in U.S. e-commerce growth from 2009 to 2010 is impressive. We project the trend to continue through the end of 2011 and then to begin to decline slightly. The actual and projected growth rates are presented graphically below.

Charted Projected US E-Commerce Growth Rates Thru 2013

Please keep in mind that the figures presented are predictions based on a linear trend line obtained via time series analysis. As with any projections of future sales based on the history of past sales, the results are speculative at best. In addition, we believe that the rapid diffusion and adoption of mobile commerce (including via iPads and Tablets) may lead to higher than projected growth rates.

At what rate do you think U.S. e-commerce will grow over the next two years?


White, D. Steven and Godwin C. Ariguzo (2011), “A Time Series Analysis of U.S. E-Commerce Sales“, Review of Business Research, Volume 11, Number 4, pp. 134-14o.

The full paper may be downloaded from the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) by clicking on the hyperlink above.



U.S. E-Commerce Growth 2000-2009


On 17 August, the U.S. Census Bureau released its 2010 Quarter 2 estimates of e-commerce volume in the U.S. Around 4.1 percent of total retail sales in the country are attributed to e-commerce activities. The first graph is from the U.S. Census Bureau report and charts the growth in percent of total retail sales attributable to e-commerce since the first quarter in 2001.

US Census Bureau ECommerce as Percent of all Retail by QuarterThe total volume of retail sales and e-commerce sales for the past five quarters (Q2 2009 – Q2 2010) contains good news for e-commerce businesses: growth in e-commerce sales for the past three quarters is more than 14 percent higher than sales for the same periods one year ago. U.S. e-commerce sales growth is over two times higher than regular U.S. retail sales growth for the past three quarters.

US ECommerce Volume by QuarterUsing quarterly data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau website (Q4 1999 through Q2 2010), one can easily calculate total annual U.S. e-commerce sales and growth. The table below shows a steady increase in the annual growth of total U.S. e-commerce sales for the 2000-2009 period.

U.S. E-Commerce VolumeTotal sales via e-commerce have grown from $27.6 billion in 2000 to $143.4 billion in 2009, a compound annual growth rate of 20.11 percent. This is an impressive accomplishment, given the economic turmoil that the country has experienced during this period (including the dot.com crash). Growth in total e-commerce sales is steady but slowing down, as illustrated by the graph below.

U.S. E-Commerce GrowthSo all is positive and e-commerce is the way to go, right? Maybe. An interesting graph is obtained by charting the annual growth rate of e-commerce for the 2000-2009 period (based on the information presented in the table above). Since 2002, the growth rate in e-commerce has consistently and steadily declined, while gross sales have increased (chart above). The impact of the current recession on e-commerce growth is readily apparent when comparing the 2007-2009 periods.

U.S. E-Commerce Growth RatesClearly, in terms of gross sales, e-commerce is expected to continue its positive growth for the foreseeable future, albeit at a slower pace than in the past. Mobile commerce (or m-commerce) is expected to offer a significant positive impact on the total e-commerce volume for the next five years plus. For marketers, both e-commerce and m-commerce offer more opportunity for growth than does traditional retail.