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Graph of US Ecommerce Sales From 2011 to 2021 (In Billions)

US Ecommerce Sales (2011–2021)

Data from the US Department of Commerce shows that US ecommerce sales have been growing steadily for over a decade, with significant growth in the previous year.

In 2020, total US ecommerce sales reached $759.4 billion, a 31.7 percent year-over-year increase from 2019’s $576.5 billion. It’s also the fastest US ecommerce growth rate in ten years, nearly doubling the second-highest growth rate of 17.8 percent in 2011.

That marks an impressive increase from the start of the decade. In just nine years, annual US ecommerce sales multiplied by nearly four times. 

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US Ecommerce Sales: COVID-19 Impact

Graph of US Ecommerce Sales in 2020 and 2021 (In Billions)

The coronavirus pandemic that swept across the world in 2020 had a profound impact on US ecommerce sales.

The latest figures show that in the first quarter of 2021, online sales in the US totaled $215 billion. This marks a 7.7 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 16.8 percent year-over-year surge. 

This also follows a record-breaking year in 2020, during which consumers worldwide had to resort to purchasing items online as brick-and-mortar stores shut to stem the spread of the virus. In fact, analysts say this accelerated the shift to ecommerce by as many as five years.

The pivot to online shopping was most evident in the second quarter of the year, during which US ecommerce sales hit a (then) record-high of $203.8 billion—an impressive 31.8 percent quarterly increase. This is noteworthy growth, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic as US consumer confidence fell to its lowest point around this time of the year.

Unsurprisingly, the two largest ecommerce companies in the US also witnessed skyrocketing sales in 2020. 

According to the latest figures from Amazon, the company’s total sales in 2020 hit $386.1 billion—a 38 percent increase from 2019 and surpassing the $100 billion mark for the first time. Walmart, the second-largest ecommerce company in the US also saw its ecommerce sales soar by 69 percent in the fourth quarter.

With that said, not only are ecommerce sales increasing but so is the US ecommerce market share of total retail sales. The ecommerce market share in 2020 came in at 13.6 percent of overall retail sales. This is a 2.9 percentage point increase from 2019’s 10.7 percent.

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