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Where to find the U.S. Census Bureau’s eCommerce sales report

February 19, 2014 Written by NetSphere Category: eCommerce

Economic indicators range from reports about the GDP to housing starts to unemployment. They also include information pertaining to consumer sentiment, manufacturing output and retail sales. To retrieve the reports, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York created its economic indicators calendar, a valuable tool for investors and business leaders alike.

For decision makers in the retail sector, economic indicators to make note of include but aren’t limited to advanced retail sales, consumer confidence and consumer credit. Each month, these indices paint a representative picture of consumer demand and consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

In terms of online sales, however, you won’t find the retail eCommerce sales report listed on the Federal Bank’s calendar. It’s buried within the link for the advanced retail sales report, which is released mid-month throughout the calendar year. Although the eCommerce report is only released on a quarterly basis, eCommerce decisions makers can still head to the same URL as the advanced retail sales report and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Once there, the full report can be downloaded as a PDF. For individual quarterly tables, the data can also be downloaded as an Excel file.

In the most recent report, which covered the fourth quarter 2013 timeframe, the data painted a positive picture for those in the eCommerce sector, showing that online shopping is continuing on its upward climb.

According to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, U.S. retail eCommerce sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 had increased by 3.4 percent when compared to the previous quarter. A snapshot of the data included in the report indicates that eCommerce sales have barely taken a dip since 2004.

This information – and the information found in all economic indicator reports – is used by investors to gauge the potential for future stock activity. But it can also be incredibly valuable for decision makers focused on growing their businesses. For example, a brick-and-mortar store owner who is considering the launch of an online site can find motivation to do so from data as opposed to gut instincts.

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Abbe Miller is the marketing manager at NetSphere Strategies, located just outside Chicago. NetSphere Strategies is a boutique eCommerce company positioned to help businesses transform their online presence by providing a full complement of services that starts with our strategic consulting and creative design teams, then continues with building innovative solutions and providing ongoing post-project support.