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E-commerce grew at a pace that put the overall economy to shame in 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which said online sales surpassed $45 billion during the year. The DOC also said e-commerce is an increasingly large part of the overall retail economy, with 1.6 percent of the total pie in the fourth quarter of 2002, compared with 1.3 percent in the third quarter and less than 1 percent as recently as Q3 2000.
Although 2002 e-commerce sales were $9.6 billion higher than 2001, online and mail-order sales combined increased only $5.3 billion (from $106.5 billion to $111.8 billion). In other words, nearly half of e-commerce's increase came at the expense of mail-order, not conventional stores.
For evidence, please see line 4541 in both the 2001 and 2002 census tables, at www.census.gov/mrts/www/data/html/nsal01.html and www.census.gov/marts/www/data/html/nsal02.html Also, for evidence of a constraint to consumer-direct growth that few seem to have realized, you might find the surveys at http://www.smartbox.com/survey_sum.html of interest.