Actually, Ecommerce Excelled in 2022

Despite inflation and supply chain worries, 2022 was a terrific year for ecommerce in the U.S., with revenue exceeding $1 trillion for the first time. Excluding travel, retail sales hit $1.09 trillion according to Comscore’s “State of Digital Commerce” report, an 11% increase over 2021. Fourth-quarter retail ecommerce sales also set a record at $332.2 billion, 18.1% higher than Q4 2021.

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that ecommerce in Q4 2022 accounted for 16% of total retail U.S. sales. For the full year, ecommerce accounted for 14.6% of total retail.

eMarketer reports that global retail ecommerce sales reached $5.7 billion last year, comprising 19.7% of total retail and a 9.7% increase over 2021.


U.S. mobile retail sales increased by 26.3% in Q4 2022 compared to the previous year, accounting for 38.4% of total retail ecommerce, per Comscore. Shopify reports that 69% of sales from merchants on its platform came via mobile devices in 2022.

Social Commerce

U.S. retail ecommerce sales that originated or were consummated on social media sites totaled $53.1 million in 2022, comprising 5.1% of all online sales compared with $39.5 million recorded in 2021, per eMarketer.

China is the global leader in social commerce with 84% of Chinese consumers shopping on social media channels, mainly WeChat, in 2022. About 36% of U.S. internet users are social buyers, with Facebook being the top site. Social shopping is most popular among Gen Z consumers (teens and 20s).

In its “Commerce Trends 2023” report, Shopify advises that “using social channels for marketing and promotions is the most important customer acquisition and retention strategy for businesses to drive growth in the next few years.”

Consumer Purchases

Groceries, never a top online category until Covid-19, grew substantially in 2022. Even as in-store shopping came back to life, online grocery sales remained strong. Combined with pet and baby goods, groceries became the top-selling U.S. ecommerce category in 2022, pulling in $219 billion, followed by apparel and accessories at $175 billion, computers and peripherals at $117 billion, and consumer electronics at $85 billion, according to Comscore.

Apparel and accessories spending rose 37% over 2021, presumably due to employees returning to the office.

Holiday Spending

According to Adobe, American consumers spent a record-breaking $211.7 billion online between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, a 3.5% bump from 2021. During Cyber Week alone — the five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday — shoppers spent $35.5 billion online.

U.S. holiday spending occurred earlier in 2022 owing to heavy merchant promotions in November, enticing consumers to spend more that month. November sales were 44% of the holiday total — up from 38% in 2021 — while December spending was 28% of the total, down from 34% in 2021, according to Comscore. Analysts have cited consumer fears of product shortages as another reason for earlier purchasing.

Marcia Kaplan
Marcia Kaplan
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