Total U.S. retail sales increased 1.4% in November over the same month last year and 0.2% over last month, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s seasonally adjusted estimates released Friday. Adjusted nonstore sales, which mainly take place on the web, grew 0.6% month over month and 7.3% year over year.
Nonstore sales total $426.87 billion year to date, up 6% from the same period a year ago. Nonstore sales account for 11.3% of the total $4.8 trillion in retail sales year to date, according to the unadjusted data. In November, nonstore sales totaled $45.83 billion, 10.3% of total retail sales of $443.71 billion for the month.
When calculating retail sales excluding foodservice—mainly restaurant and bar sales—nonstore sales accounted for 11.6% of total retail sales in November, up from 10.6% in November 2014 and from 10.2% in October 2015. Total retail sales excluding foodservice were $393.51 billion in November, according to the Commerce Department’s unadjusted data.
When further excluding sales at auto dealers and gas stations—products not commonly bought online—Internet Retailer calculates that nonstore sales accounted for 16.5% of retail sales of in November, up from 15.4% a year ago.
Commerce Department estimates are based on a survey of more than 4,700 U.S. retail and food service merchants.
The department’s retail numbers echo holiday shopping trends this year, as online retailers saw sales increase 15%-16% over Thanksgiving weekend, but in-store sales over the same period declined 4.7%-10%, according to reports from retail industry vendors and analysts.
“Online also accounted for a much higher proportion of sales than in an average month—a sign that more people than ever are now shopping the Black Friday sales from the comfort of their own homes,” says Neil Saunders, CEO of research and consulting firm Conlumino. “This shift to online is one of the reasons why Black Friday footfall in stores is down; e-commerce is helping to change the nature and shape of Black Friday.”
In terms of seasonally adjusted sales broken down by categories, nonstore sales had the biggest increase year over year at 7.3%, followed by food services (6.5%), sporting goods stores (5.4%) and furniture stores (5.4%). Department stores and electronics and appliance stores posted a decline as well, decreasing 2.4% and 2.3%, respectively.