Retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. jumped to $36.6 billion in the first quarter of 2010, an estimated 14 percent growth over the same period in 2009, according to estimates released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau .
Research firm eMarketer projects that after two years of subpar growth, U.S. retail e-commerce sales will climb 12.7 percent this year, reaching $152 billion. This follows two consecutive quarters of strong year-over-year e-commerce growth reported by the bureau — 14 percent in Q1 2010 and 15 percent in Q4 2009. Quarterly growth has not been that high since Q4 2007.
“The outlook for overall retail is tentatively optimistic, e-commerce spending has already returned to pre-recession levels, and I expect that to continue,” said Jeffrey Grau, senior analyst at eMarketer.
While the bureau reported a modest 6.8 percent growth rate for total retail spending in Q1, online sales growth will outperform total retail growth as shoppers move more of their purchases from stores to the Web to take advantage of lower prices, convenience and selection, Grau said.
“In short, e-commerce spending is back after a two-year hiatus,” Grau said.