Sales through e-commerce were $56.99 billion in the third quarter, up from $48.59 billion a year ago, according to figures released by Census Bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This 17.3 percent increase far exceeds total retail sales growth of 4.6 percent.
E-commerce sales have shown steady increases during the past year. Growth during each of the previous three quarters had increased slightly more than 15 percent over year-ago figures.
The third quarter e-commerce figures were 3.7 percent above the $54.94 billion in sales during the second quarter of 2012.
Excluding restaurant and bar sales, e-commerce sale volume accounted for almost 5.2 percent of total retail sales during the third quarter. A year ago, e-commerce sales accounted for 4.7 percent of total retail sales.
Cyber Monday will be one of the biggest e-commerce days on record. According to the Adobe Digital Index 2012 Online Shopping Forecast, the online revenue for Cyber Monday is predicted to be $2 billion, up 18 percent over last year. Adobe is basing the prediction on more than 150 billion website visits to more than 500 Adobe retail customers.
Walmart is extending Cyber Monday by starting Saturday, November 24 and continuing the daily online deals through December 2.