U.S. retailers’ nonstore sales reached $55.829 billion in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, a 9.1% increase compared with $51.155 billion in the same month of 2017, new monthly data from the U.S. Commerce Department shows.
That’s a slower increase than in April, when nonstore sales grew 10.5% 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 second-quarter results on August 17.
A historical look at the correlation between U.S. retailers’ nonstore sales and e-commerce sales shows that e-commerce is a growing portion of nonstore sales. In the first quarter of 2018, for example, e-commerce represented 75.8% of nonstore sales on an adjusted basis, an Internet Retailer analysis shows. That’s compared with 70.3% in the same period a year earlier.
Using those same percentages, this would suggest that in May, e-commerce sales reached an estimated $42.318 billion, a 17.7% increase compared with $35.961 billion a year earlier.
Total retail and food service sales for U.S. retailers reached $501.971 billion in May on an adjusted basis, up 5.9% from a year earlier, according to the Commerce Department.