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Chart of US Ecommerce Sales from 2012 to 2022

US Ecommerce Sales (2012–2022)

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 two years.

In 2021, total US ecommerce sales reached $960.1 billion, an 18.3 percent year-over-year increase from $811.6 billion in 2020. It’s significantly less than the US ecommerce growth rate of 2020, during which total sales increased by 42.4 percent year-over-year from 2019. 

Despite the slowdown, total US ecommerce sales in 2021 still marked the highest on record. This is an impressive increase from a decade ago in 2011 when online sales in the US totaled $199.3 billion. A year later, it breached the $200 billion mark for the very first time. From 2011 to 2021, annual US ecommerce sales multiplied by nearly five times. 

The latest data also shows that the first quarter of 2022 saw US ecommerce sales hit $250 billion. Already, this is a 6.6 percent increase from the previous year. If the sales numbers continue to grow at this rate, the US may be on track to record its highest annual online sales ever.

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US Ecommerce Sales: COVID-19 Impact

Chart of US Ecommerce Sales (2020 to 2022)

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 2020, online sales in the US totaled $159.9 billion. The quarter after, it surged 32 percent to $211 billion, even as overall retail sales fell by 4.2 percent. This was also a 52.7 percent annual increase from the second quarter of 2019.

The surge in online sales in the second quarter of 2020 coincided with the period during which US consumers 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.

This growth is especially noteworthy, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic as US consumer confidence fell to its lowest point around this time of the year.

Apart from a slight dip in the third quarter of 2021, US ecommerce sales have continued to grow. The best-performing quarter so far has been in Q1 2022, when online sales soared to a record high of $250 billion.

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