U.S. retailers’ nonstore sales reached $58.063 billion in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, an 11.4% increase compared with $52.142 billion in the same month of 2017, new monthly data from the U.S. Commerce Department shows.
That’s a slightly larger increase than August, when nonstore sales grew 10.2% on an adjusted basis year over year. Nonstore sales grew 1.1% month over month from August to September on an adjusted basis, the Commerce Department finds. 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 third-quarter results on Nov. 19.
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 second quarter of 2018, for example, e-commerce represented 76.0% of nonstore sales on an adjusted basis, an Internet Retailer analysis shows. That’s compared with 72.5% in the same period a year earlier.
Using those same percentages, this would suggest that in September, e-commerce sales reached an estimated $44.128 billion, a 16.7% increase compared with $37.803 billion a year earlier.
Total retail sales reached $290.664 billion in September on a non-adjusted basis, up 2.9% from $282.245 billion a year earlier, according to Internet Retailer’s analysis of Commerce Department figures. These figures factor out goods not normally purchased online, including food services, gasoline and automobiles. Nonstore sales on a non-adjusted basis reached $51.732 billion up 8.9% from $47.522 billion a year earlier.