US Census Data Shows Ecommerce Growing In All Sectors

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

The power of ecommerce is something that has been discussed many times on this site. Over the past ten years, ecommerce has shaped changes in every industry. Last week, the Census Bureau released recently compiled statistics about 2013 that found ecommerce is taking up a larger percentage of the economy than ever.

The data analyzed by the Census Bureau came from multiple sources. The estimates are based on five surveys conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau: the 2012 Economic Census—

Manufacturing, the 2013 Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM), the 2013 Annual Wholesale Trade Survey (AWTS), the 2013 Service Annual Survey (SAS), and the 2013 Annual Retail Trade Survey (ARTS).

e13-estats-1This data may be from 2013, but it is the most current data of its kind that the Census Bureau has. All jokes about the speed of government aside, the Census Bureau is likely conducting the surveys for 2014 data now, as many businesses wouldn’t be ready to give their 2014 totals until after tax season. Even if the data is a year old, it provides a lot of insight into the direction ecommerce is taking in several key industries.

One area that has seen significant growth is manufacturing. According to the report, U.S. manufacturers reported e-commerce shipments were $3.3 trillion in 2013, an 11.1 percent increase from 2012, which was a revised to $3.0 trillion in the report. Total shipments were $5.8 trillion in 2013. This means 57 percent of manufacturing shipment revenue comes from online portals. This is up from a revised 52.4 percent in 2012.

U.S. merchant wholesalers saw an annual increase of 4 percent. Including manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, reported total e-commerce sales for merchant wholesalers was $2.0 trillion in 2013. As a whole, merchant wholesalers didn’t see a large amount of growth year over year in 2013. Total sales increased by just 2.7 percent to $7.4 trillion in 2013, up from a revised $7.2 trillion in 2012.

The report also contained data on selected service industries in the U.S. E-commerce revenues for these sectors were $443 billion in 2013, up 8.5 percent in 2012. This means that ecommerce revenue in these sectors is growing faster than the revenue itself. Total revenues for these service sectors were $12.5 trillion in 2013, a 3.2 percent increase from 2012. So ecommerce revenue grew at more than 2.5 times the rate of these industries in general.

The greatest growth was seen by general U.S. retailers. According to one survey, e-commerce sales for U.S. retailers were grew 13.6 percent, going to $261 billion in 2013 from a revised $229 billion in 2012. Total sales in retail increased by 3.8 percent to $4.5 trillion in 2013 from a revised $4.3 trillion in 2012.

As this data shows, e-commerce is growing in importance for nearly every sector of the American economy. In every industry analyzed by the Census Bureau, e-commerce sales grew at a faster rate than the sales for the industry in general. This means that ecommerce is taking a larger portion of the market share in each of these sectors.

For business owners in the areas covered by this report, it’s clear that ecommerce will increasingly be the way of the future for these industries. Business owners should be searching for ways to adapt their business model to include more ecommerce and internet marketing options.

For more research about the value of ecommerce, read this article with 9 Stats on How Ecommerce and Internet Marketing are Changing Business.


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