E‑Commerce Continuing to Make Double-​Digit Gains

June marks the eighth straight month e‑commerce has posted double-​digit gains, according to a new report from MasterCard. Women’s apparel did exceptionally well, though online jewelry sales suffered. High gas prices and stormy weather appear to have helped online retail. 

E‑commerce sales increased 15.2% year over year in June, the eighth straight month of double-​digit growth, and the 23rdmonth in a row that online purchases have grown, according to a report released recently by MasterCard Advisors, the consulting arm of MasterCard Worldwide. E‑commerce sales increased 15.9% in May alone.

MasterCard bases the SpendingPulse report on retail sales using all payment forms, including credit and debit cards of all brands, along with cash and checks. As is often the case, this month’s report did not include actual spending in dollars, either for e‑commerce or all retail sales.

MasterCard says that not all e‑commerce categories did well in June. Online jewelry sales dropped 12.9% in June compared with the same month a year ago; by contrast, luxury sales at high-​end restaurants, food stores, department stores and general apparel retailers—but not including jewelry—increased 8.2% in June, according to SpendingPulse. Online sales of family clothing also decreased, though by only 0.2%.

But online sales of women’s apparel had a healthy June, with sales increasing 12.2% year over year.

Total retail sales—this includes purchase made inside physical stores—continued to be hampered by high gas prices and persistent unemployment, says Michael McNamara, vice president, research and analysis, for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. Exceptionally wet weather in some parts of the country also might have kept consumers from traveling too far to make purchases, he says. “On the other hand,” he says, “unfavorable weather and high gasoline prices appear to have helped e‑commerce to its eighth consecutive month of double-​digit growth.”

[Source:  SpendingPulse.  MasterCard Advisors.  7 July 2011.  Web.  8 July 2011.]