U.S. retail sales hit $4.53 trillion in 2013, e-commerce jumps 17 percent

Total retail sales in the United States topped $4.53 trillion in 2013, while e-commerce and mobile climbed faster than expected, according to a new eMarketer industry forecast.

U.S. retail sales grew 4.2 percent from $4.35 trillion in 2012, and online sales accounted for a significant portion of overall retail growth. E-commerce sales came in at $263.3 billion, up 16.9 percent, or $40 billion, in 2013 compared to 2012. While brick-and-mortar sales still make up the vast majority of the retail market, e-commerce sales are increasing much faster, the study found.

In 2013, mobile commerce, which includes products and services ordered on mobile devices, including tablets, increased 70 percent to reach $42.13 billion.

This is eMarketer's first-ever benchmark of total retail and retail store sales. The study analyzes both retail e-commerce sales — including all purchases made on desktop and laptop computers, tablets and mobile phones — and non e-commerce sales, which mostly comprise brick-and-mortar retail purchases.

Looking ahead, 2014 stands to be a banner year for retail. The company forecasts total retail sales to accelerate further, increasing 4.4 percent to reach $4.73 trillion this year. The study predicts e-commerce sales will grow 15.5 percent this year to $304 billion, up from $263.3 billion in 2013. Mobile commerce will continue to soar, with an increase of 37.2 percent to $57.8 billion this year from $42.1 billion in 2013.

By 2017, eMarketer projects total U.S. retail sales of $5.55 trillion. That figure includes $491.5 billion of e-commerce sales and $132.69 billion in m-commerce sales.

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