Nonstore sales grew 10.9% in August, according to figures released today by the U.S. Commerce Department. That’s a deceleration from July and Q2, but still strong compared with norms of the prior several quarters.

Monthly retail sales data released by the U.S. Commerce Department today suggests that the e-commerce market is showing healthy gains so far this quarter, though the third quarter may not be quite as strong as second quarter. In the second quarter, e-commerce sales grew 15.8%, its largest year-over-year gain in nearly two years.

In August, what the Commerce Department calls “nonstore sales” reached $46.73 billion, a 10.9% increase compared with August 2015. This follows a 14.1% increase in July and a 14.2% jump in June.

For the past three months combined—June through August—nonstore sales increased 11.9% compared with the same period last year.

Nonstore sales occur mainly on the web but also include categories of retail sales that are declining, such as mail and phone orders and door-to-door sales. Thus, the growth in nonstore sales is consistently lower than the growth in e-commerce sales, which the Commerce Department reports quarterly.

For example, nonstore sales grew 8.6% in the first quarter while online retail sales grew 15.2%. In the second quarter, nonstore sales grew 12.7% while e-commerce sales grew 15.8%.


Strong indicators for e-commerce so far in third quarter are in contrast to store sales, as total retail sales excluding motor vehicles and parts grew 1.4% year over year in August and 2.0% in July.