Online retail sales have increased as a share of total retail sales on average by 5 percent each quarter since 1999.

In the old economy, virtually all economic transactions involved the transfer of physical goods and paper records, or the interaction of people in person or by telephone. In the New Economy, a significant share of both business and government transactions are conducted through digital means. For example, online retail sales have increased as a share of total retail sales on an average of 5 percent each quarter since 1999. Moreover, between 2002 and 2011, U.S. retail sales through e-commerce increased by 19.8 percent annually in comparison to just 3.2 percent for total retail sales. U.S. e-commerce sales reached $193 billion in 2011.