U.S. nonstore sales grew steadily in February, new monthly data from the U.S. Commerce Department shows.
What the agency calls “nonstore sales” reached $55.08 billion in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, a 10.1% increase compared with $50.01 billion in the same month of 2017. That’s about the same year-over-year increase as January, when nonstore sales increased 10.2%.
Nonstore sales mainly take place online but also include other channels such as mail and telephone orders, door-to-door sales and sales through vending machines.
Internet Retailer uses the monthly nonstore figures disclosed by the Commerce Department as an early indicator of the health of the e-commerce market. The Commerce Department only reports e-commerce sales on a quarterly basis. The agency will release its first-quarter results on May 17.
A historical look at the correlation between nonstore sales and e-commerce sales show that e-commerce is a growing portion of nonstore sales. In the fourth quarter of 2017, for example, e-commerce represented 73.3% of nonstore sales, an Internet Retailer analysis shows. That’s compared with 69.2% for Q4 2016.
Using those same percentages, this would suggest that in February, e-commerce sales reached roughly $40.37 billion, compared with $34.60 billion a year earlier. An increase of 16.6%
Total retail sales reached $492.01 billion in February on an adjusted basis, up 4% from $473.11 billion in February of last year. In January, total retail sales increased about the same amount year over year to reach $492.34 billion compared with $474.03 billion a year earlier.