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Adjusted US e-commerce sales totaled $38.7 billion in Q1 2010, a 1.5% increase from $38.1 billion in Q4 2009, according to estimates from the US Census Bureau.

Adjustments Make Big Difference
There was a substantial difference between estimates adjusted for seasonal variation, but not price changes, and unadjusted estimates. On an adjusted basis, Q1 2010 e-commerce sales grew 14.3% from Q1 2009 e-commerce sales of $33.9 billion, and accounted for 4% of total sales of $960 billion.

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However, removing seasonal adjustments, Q1 2010 e-commerce sales were $36.6 billion, an 18.9% decrease from $42 billion in Q4 2009. On a year-over year unadjusted basis, Q1 2010 e-commerce sales increased 14% from Q1 2009 and accounted for 4.1% of total sales of $897 billion in Q1 2009.

Adjusted E-commerce Sales Show Steady Quarterly Growth
Adjusted for seasonal variation, e-commerce sales have shown a steady quarter-over-quarter growth pattern for the past year. In Q1 2009, adjusted e-commerce sales grew 1.7% to $33.9 billion, and then grew another 2.8% to $34.8 billion in Q2 2009. This was followed by 5.1% growth to $36.6 billion in Q3 2009, and then a 4.2% jump to $38.1 billion in Q4 2009.

Year-over-year growth was less steady. Compared to the same quarters in 2008, adjusted e-commerce sales dropped 6.6% in Q1 2009 and 4.8% in Q2 2009. Positive year-over-year growth occurred in the third (1.7%) and fourth (14.6%) quarters.

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Unadjusted E-commerce Sales Show Varied Results
In contrast to the fairly stable adjusted results, unadjusted e-commerce sales show much wider variance on both a quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year basis. In Q1 2009, unadjusted e-commerce sales totaled $32.1 billion, an 18.3% drop from the prior quarter and 7% drop from the prior year. Q2 2009 unadjusted e-commerce sales totaled $32.8 billion, a 2% quarterly increase but 5.2% annual decline.

In Q3 2009, unadjusted e-commerce sales were $34 billion, representing 3.9% quarterly growth and 1.6% annual growth. Fourth quarter unadjusted results were $42 billion, representing much higher 32.8% quarterly growth and 15% annual growth.

E-commerce Fraud Losses Drop
E-commerce fraud appears to be on the wane, according to a recent survey from payment management solutions provider CyberSource.

According to the “11th Annual Online Fraud Report,” projected 2009 fraud losses to U.S. and Canadian online retailers is $3.3 billion USD, a 17.5% decline from $4 billion USD worth of fraud losses reported in 2008. This is the first drop in estimated e-commerce fraud losses since 2003.
In addition, online retailers projected they would lose 1.2% of their online revenue to fraud this year, compared to a rate of 1.4% reported from 2006-2008. This is the lowest percentage revenue loss in the history of the survey.

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