Web shoppers in the United States spent $78.1 billion, the Commerce Department says. E-commerce now accounts for 6.6% of total retail sales.

E-commerce sales continue to grow and grab a larger share of total retail sales, according to estimates released by the U.S. Commerce Department. It says U.S. e-commerce sales totaled $78.1 billion in the third quarter, up 4.1% from $75.0 billion in the second quarter of 2014, and up 16.2% from $67.2 billion on a year-over-year basis.

Total retail sales meanwhile increased 4.2% year over year in the third quarter to $1.185 trillion, the Commerce Department says. The Commerce Department excludes sales at restaurants and bars in the total retail sales figure it includes in its quarterly e-commerce sales reports.

The estimates—adjusted for seasonal variation, but not for price changes—says e-commerce accounted for 6.6% of total retail spending in the quarter—a record high. That’s up from 6.4% in the second quarter and 5.9% in the third quarter of 2013. The Commerce Department includes purchases made from both PCs and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets in its estimates.

On a not-adjusted basis, the Commerce Department says e-commerce accounted for $71.9 billion of the $1.185 trillion in total retail spending during the third quarter, or 6.1% of total retail spending. Q3 2014 e-commerce sales increased 16.2% year over year on the not-adjusted basis, while total retail sales increased 4.3%.

Commerce Department estimates are based on a quarterly survey of about 12,500 U.S. merchants.


When further excluding sales of autos and fuel—products not commonly bought online—Internet Retailer calculates that e-commerce accounted for approximately 7.8% of total adjusted retail sales during the third quarter of 2014, up from 7.5% a year ago. On an unadjusted basis, the same calculation shows e-commerce accounted for approximately 8.1% of total unadjusted retail sales versus 6.7% a year ago.