U.S. retailers generated $139.67 billion in online sales in the second quarter on a non-adjusted basis, a 13.6% increase compared with $122.93 billion a year earlier, the Department of Commerce reports.
While that’s a slowdown from the second quarter of 2018 when U.S. online sales rose 14.8% year over year, it is a slight increase over the first quarter when online sales from U.S. merchants grew 11.6% year over year.
Total retail sales grew 3.4% in the first quarter on a non-adjusted basis, according to the Commerce Department.
These retail sales figures from the Commerce Department include the sale of items not normally bought online, such as fuel and automobiles. When factoring these items out of the total retail sales figures, which Internet Retailer believes is the most accurate way to measure the impact of ecommerce on retail as a whole, total retail sales reached $937.61 billion, up 3.7% from $903.84 billion in Q2 2018.
That would mean ecommerce represented 14.9% of total retail sales, up from 13.6% in Q2 2018, according to Internet Retailer estimates. It also means that ecommerce represented roughly 49.6% all retail growth. For all of 2018, online sales accounted for 14.1% of total retail sales, according to Internet Retailer estimates.
NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz says it’s important to remember that this data—as well as monthly retail sales data—is looking backward at the state of consumer spending and sentiment earlier this year. The impact of volatile financial markets and increased trade tensions in recent weeks may put a wind of caution in consumer spending as we move forward in 2019, he says.
The release of these second quarter numbers comes just about a week after the Trump administration delayed new tariffs on some consumer goods until Dec. 15 to avoid impact on holiday spending, but many products will still be hit by tariffs taking effect Sept. 1 as scheduled.