U.S. nonstore sales reached $55.905 billion in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, a 9.6% increase compared with $51.022 billion in the same month of 2017, new monthly data from the U.S. Commerce Department shows.
That’s a slightly lower increase than in March, when e-commerce sales grew 10% on an adjusted basis year over year. 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 Thursday.
A historical look at the correlation between nonstore sales and e-commerce sales shows 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% in the same period a year earlier.
Using those same percentages, this would suggest that in April, e-commerce sales reached roughly $40.978 billion, a 16.1% increase compared with $35.307 billion a year earlier.
Total retail and food service sales reached $497.559 billion in April on an adjusted basis, up 4.7% from a year earlier, according to the Commerce Department.
Meanwhile, a recent report from Adobe Analytics finds first-quarter U.S. e-commerce sales grew 14.1% compared with the first quarter of 2017. That’s according to the firm’s Digital Dollar report—a new year-round report that tracks revenue trends.
Adobe’s data is based on an analysis of more than 1 trillion visits to more than 4,500 retail sites and 55 million SKUs, and it measures online transactions at what Adobe considers to be 80 of the largest 100 U.S. web retailers.
Additionally, Salesforce recently released its Shopping Index report with similar Q1 2018 findings, including 14% e-commerce growth over Q1 2017. Salesforce’s findings analyzed shopping activity of more than 500 million consumers across the world. Shoppers spent on average 5.6% more per e-commerce visit in Q1 2018 versus Q1 2017, according to Salesforce’s data.
Stephanie Crets contributed to this report.