PUBLISHED TUE, APR 2 2019 12:06 PM EDTUPDATED WED, APR 3 2019 2:34 PM EDT Kate Rooney @KR00NEY
- The report from the Commerce Department this week shows a new milestone for online shopping.
- The total market share of sales done with “non-store” retailers, or online, was higher than general merchandise, including department stores sales, in February.
- “The days of the internet and online shopping being “just a fad” have come a long way over the years,” says Bespoke’s Paul Hickey.
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Online shopping led by Amazon hit a new milestone in February.
The total market share of “non-store,” or online U.S. retail sales was higher than general merchandise sales for the first time in history, according to a report from the Commerce Department this week.
“The days of the internet and online shopping being ‘just a fad’ have come a long way over the years, but February’s Retail Sales report (released Monday) highlighted another of many major milestones that the growth of online shopping has reached over the years,” said Paul Hickey, co-founder or Bespoke Investment Group, which reported the statistic in a note to clients Tuesday.
The online sector, referred to as “clicks,” has been slowly eating up market share in the past two decades. Its total rose from below 5 percent in the late 1990s to about 12 percent in 2019, according to the Commerce Department. In February, online sales narrowly beat general merchandise stores, including department stores, warehouse clubs and super-centers. Non-store retail sales last month accounted for 11.813 percent of the total, compared with 11.807 percent for general merchandise. To be sure, brick-and-mortar sales are higher when including other categories such as auto and restaurant sales.
“Sure, we had to go out to three decimal places, so the margin of different is extremely small, but looking at the chart the trend remains clear; the share of total sales for each sector are clearly going in opposite directions,” Hickey said in a note.