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Think Online Retail Is the Largest E-Commerce Sector? Think Again...

Jun 01, 2021 01:07PM ● By ANDREW W. HAIT
Andrew W. Hait / U.S. Census Bureau

Ask someone to define “e-commerce” and they’ll likely say: online shopping.

While online retail certainly is a significant player in the world of e-commerce — $519.6 billion of total retail trade e-commerce in 2018 — it pales in comparison to the share of total manufacturing, wholesale trade, and services sector activities conducted electronically.  

According to the Census Bureau’s 2018 E-Commerce Statistics report, manufacturing e-commerce shipments made up 67.3% or nearly $4.0 trillion of the $6.0 trillion in total value of manufacturing shipments.

By comparison, retail e-commerce sales were only 9.9% or $519.6 billion of the $5.3 trillion in total retail sales.

Continue reading to learn more about:

  • What is manufacturing e-commerce?
  • Does e-commerce rule in all manufacturing industries?
  • The future of e-commerce in manufacturing