U.S. retail E-commerce sales rose sharply in the fourth quarter as consumers spent $17.2 billion online, up 25% from the year-ago quarter, the Commerce Department said last week.
E-commerce sales accounted for 1.9% of all retail sales in the fourth quarter, an increase from 1.6% the year before. For 2003, online sales were $55 billion, up 26% from 2002.
The typical E-shopper is changing from early adopter to mainstream consumer, says Forrester Research analyst Kate Delhagen. Health and beauty and apparel sales last year grew 93% and 54%, respectively, eclipsing stalwarts such as books, music, and videos. Forrester projects that online sales overall will grow 25% again this year.
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