US retail e-commerce sales improved in Q2 2010 compared to Q2 2009, according to both comScore and the US Census Bureau, but the two research entities disagree on how they compared to Q1 2010 results.
comScore: Retail E-commerce Grows Annually, Drops Quarterly
US retail e-commerce spending totaled $32.9 billion in Q2 2010, according to comScore. This represents a 9% gain from about $30.2 billion in Q2 2009. This marks the third straight quarter US retail e-commerce spending has increased year-over-year, with Q1 2010 spending growing 10% and Q4 2009 spending growing 3%.
On a quarterly basis, Q2 2010 retail e-commerce spending dropped 3.2% from about $34 billion in Q1 2010. That figure was a 12.8% decrease from a holiday-inflated $39 billion in Q4 2009.
Unemployment, Stock Market Could Threaten Continued Growth
comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni said the second quarter’s continuation of the first quarter’s strong retail e-commerce growth rates is encouraging, but potential threats loom in the second half of 2010. “We remain cautiously optimistic heading into the second half of the year, but we will be keeping a close eye on unemployment rates, which along with potential uncertainty in the stock market could limit growth in e-commerce spending in the near term,” said Fulgoni.
- Upper-income households (those earning at least $100,000 annually) grew 17% compared to Q1 2009, approximately twice the overall e-commerce growth rate during the quarter.
- Among the top-performing online product categories were: consumer electronics (excluding PC peripherals), computer software (excluding PC games), computers/peripherals/PDAs, and books & magazines.
- Multi-channel retailers regained e-commerce spending market share compared to online pure-play retailers, following five consecutive quarters of declining market share.
Census Bureau: Adjusted E-commerce Sales Total $39.7B
US retail e-commerce sales for Q2 2010, adjusted for seasonal variation but not for price changes, were $39.7 billion, according to the Census Bureau.
Adjusted E-commerce Sales Rise 14% Annually
Adjusted retail e-commerce sales in Q2 2010 totaled $39.7 billion, an increase of 2.6% from $38.7 billion in Q1 2010 and 14% from $34.8 billion in Q2 2009. They accounted for 4.1% of total adjusted Q2 2010 retail spending of $971.4 billion.
Adjusted E-commerce Sales Show Steady Quarterly Growth
Adjusted for seasonal variation, retail e-commerce sales have shown a steady quarter-over-quarter growth pattern for the past year. In Q2 2009, adjusted retail e-commerce sales grew 2.8% from $33.9 billion to $34.8 billion 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 and 1.5% in Q1 2010.
Year-over-year growth was less steady. Q1 2010 retail e-commerce sales grew 14.3%. However, compared to the same quarter in 2008, adjusted retail e-commerce sales dropped 4.8% in Q2 2009. Positive year-over-year growth occurred in the third (1.7%) and fourth (14.6%) quarters.
Unadjusted E-commerce Sales Show Varied Results
Removing seasonal adjustments, retail e-commerce sales have followed a dramatically different path in the past year. Unadjusted Q2 2010 e-commerce sales totaled $37.2 billion, a 1.5% increase from $35.7 billion the previous quarter and 13.7% from 32.8% the prior year.
Tracking retail e-commerce sales quarter-over-quarter in the past year, Q2 2009 unadjusted retail e-commerce sales totaled $32.8 billion, a 2% quarterly increase but 5.2% annual decline.
In Q3 2009, unadjusted retail 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. Q1 2010 unadjusted retail e-commerce sales grew 14.2% from Q1 2009.