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LOS ANGELES - E-commerce as an industry is accelerating, not maturing or decelerating, according to new quarterly numbers from BizRate.com, a comparison-shopping site and e commerce research firm. The just-ended first calendar quarter of 2002 revealed year-over-year online retail sales gains of 41.1 percent to $11.60 billion versus Q1 2001's $8.22 billion.
This first-quarter increase beat the last three quarters. Fourth quarter 2001, which includes the holiday season, grew by 34.5 percent year over year; third quarter 2001, which was impacted negatively for two weeks from the terrorist attacks, grew at a 19.6 percent rate; and second quarter 2001 increased by 21.3 percent versus the prior year. Unmistakably, the online sales growth is up and accelerating as consumers take a stronger affinity to the convenience of online sales, both at work and home.
Contributing to the increased sales is both a greater volume of orders and higher price points per transaction. Online orders grew by 33.9 percent this past quarter from 68.29 million purchases in Q1 2001 to 91.47 million in Q1 2002. The average online sale in Q1 2002 was $127 per purchase, up 5.3 percent from Q1 2001's $120.
"There is a still a perception that online industries are faltering, but this is actually the reverse with online retail sales. The trend shows that consumers love buying online and are shifting their purchases from offline to online -- and at ever-increasing levels -- even though their overall spending might not be growing," said Chuck Davis, president & CEO of BizRate.com.
Due to the outstanding performance of Q1 online sales, BizRate.com is increasing its estimate for 2002 total online retail sales from 26 percent to 44 percent. Total online retail sales, which were $28.91 billion in 2000 and grew by 24 percent to $35.87 billion in 2001, are now forecasted to be up 44 percent to $51.48 billion in 2002. BizRate's previous 2002 estimate announced in October was for a 26 percent increase to $45.22 billion.