E-Commerce Sales Are on the Rise — And May Could Break Another Record

E-commerce continues to nab market share from brick and mortar, growing 9.6 percent in April over the same period last year, surpassing the overall retail industry’s 4.8 percent year-over-year growth.

The findings were released Tuesday as part of the U.S. Census’ latest Advance Monthly Retail Report, which calculates sales at “nonstore retailers” (a category composed primarily of online businesses, as well as mail-order and door-to-door sales) among its surveys of 12,000 retail employers across the country.

The Census Bureau is expected to break out e-commerce sales for the first quarter of the year on Thursday, on the heels of Adobe Digital Insights first quarterly Digital Dollar report, which put growth for the period at 14.1 percent over 2017, reaching $100 billion in total online consumer spending in the U.S., a record for Q1.

Adobe points to two days in particular for boosting sales in the early months of the year: Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President’s Day, which bumped spending to $1.5 and $1.7 billion, respectively. Though neither is traditionally a major shopping holiday, consumers are getting savvier about waiting for long-weekend discounts, as analysts noticed a drop in sales in the days leading up to both. Memorial Day, however, is poised to be even bigger: Adobe predicts a 19 percent year-over-year growth in online sales, to $1.9 billion, for summer’s first holiday weekend.

The upward trend will also likely carry over throughout the second quarter. “This continued fast-paced growth in online spending suggests that consumer confidence remains high, and we suspect the strong stock market is also helping buoy online sales,” said Sid Kulkarni, manager for Adobe Digital Insights. “Based on our research, we predict the growth to pick up the pace in the coming months. We’re forecasting 14.4 percent year-over-year growth for Q2.”

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