U.S. e-commerce sales climbed 16.1 percent to total $194.3 billion in 2011, compared to $167.3 billion in 2010, according to Commerce Department estimates.
The data demonstrates that e-commerce is capturing a larger share of overall U.S. retail sales, with 4.6 percent of total retail spending occurring online in 2011, versus 4.3 percent the year before.
Commerce reports that seasonally adjusted e-retail sales for the fourth quarter of 2011 amounted to $51.4 billion, a 15.5 percent gain from $44.5 billion a year ago. E-commerce constituted 4.8 percent of all fourth quarter 2011 retail spending, compared to 4.4 percent in the same period a year ago. Excluding the seasonal adjustment, fourth quarter 2011 e-retail sales came to $61.8 billion, a 16.1 percent increase from $53.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Commerce’s full-year and quarterly e-commerce estimates are higher than those issued by comScore, which reported a 13 percent boost in sales in 2011 for a total of $16.5 billion and a 14 percent gain in the fourth quarter to reach $49.7 billion.
Electronic commerce that takes place between businesses is referred to as business-to-business or B2B. B2B can be open to all interested parties (e.g. commodity exchange) or limited to specific, pre-qualified participants (private electronic market). Electronic commerce that takes place between businesses and consumers, on the other hand, is referred to as business-to-consumer or B2C. This is the type of electronic commerce conducted by companies such as Amazon.com.
Online shopping is a form of electronic commerce where the buyer is directly online to the seller’s computer usually via the internet. There is often no intermediary service involved, and the sale or purchase transaction is completed electronically and interactively in real-time. However in some cases, an intermediary may be present in a sale or purchase transaction, or handling recurring or one-time purchase transactions for online games.
Electronic commerce is generally considered to be the sales aspect of e-business. It also consists of the exchange of data to facilitate the financing and payment aspects of business transactions.
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