3.5 minutes

Total retail sales grew at just over half the rate that they did in 2022 — 3.8% in 2023 compared to 7.1% in 2022.

In 2023, U.S. ecommerce represented 22.0% of total retail sales, according to Digital Commerce 360 analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce data. That compares with 21.2% penetration in 2022.

2023’s 22.0% marked the largest U.S. ecommerce sales penetration to date, according to Digital Commerce 360 analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce data. The department’s ecommerce data goes back to the year 2000.

U.S. ecommerce has grown at least 0.2 percentage points year over year since 2000, according to a Digital Commerce 360 analysis. The slowest growths were from 2007 to 2008 (5.1% penetration to 5.3%) and 2021 to 2022 (21.0% penetration to 21.2%).



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At the same time, U.S. ecommerce grew 7.6% in 2023 and total sales grew 3.8%. That’s a sharp contrast from the pandemic-induced U.S. ecommerce boom, which led online sales to grow at a rate of 42.8% over 2019, whereas total retail sales in 2020 grew 7.8%.

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Editor’s note: An earlier version of this chart has been updated to reflect 22.0% penetration for U.S. ecommerce in 2023.

How much did US ecommerce sales grow?

U.S. ecommerce sales grew to about $1.119 trillion in 2023 from $1.040 trillion in 2022 (7.6% growth). Meanwhile, total retail sales grew to about $5.088 trillion in 2023 from about $4.904 trillion in 2022 (3.8%).

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U.S. ecommerce has also grown every quarter going back to Q2 2009, when it decreased 3.9% over Q2 2008. Similarly, total retail sales in the U.S. have grown every quarter going back to 2009, according to a Digital Commerce 360 analysis of commerce department data. Total retail sales decreased every quarter that year, as well as in Q4 2008, a result of the Great Recession.

Outside of the Great Recession, total U.S. retail sales have not declined going back at least through 1993, the extent to which Digital Commerce 360 analysis is available.

“Ecommerce growth continued to slow this year amid an overall slower economy, but it accounted for nearly half the total retail growth for the country,” said James Risley, research data manager and senior analyst at Digital Commerce 360. “That’s a return to pre-pandemic levels of contribution compared to a much smaller contribution in 2021 and 2022. Overall, the ecommerce picture is returning to our pre-COVID understanding of retail.”

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How is ecommerce penetration calculated? 

U.S. ecommerce sales accounted for 15.4% of total sales in 2023, and 14.7% of total sales in 2022, according to the Commerce Department.

Digital Commerce 360 studies non-seasonally adjusted commerce department data and excludes spending in segments that don’t typically sell online. These segments include:

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Automobile dealers
  • Gas stations
  • Fuel dealers

U.S. ecommerce penetration reflects the share of dollars consumers could potentially spend online.

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The commerce department defines ecommerce sales as the sales of goods and services where an order is placed by the buyer or price and terms of sales are negotiated over:

  • Internet
  • Extranet
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) network
  • Electronic mail
  • Other online system

Payment may or may not be made online. The Commerce Department publishes estimates it adjusts for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes.

Percentage changes may not align exactly with dollar figures due to rounding. Here’s last year’s update.

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