While e-commerce is on a roll, consumers are still venturing out of their homes and offices to do a little shopping.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports total retail sales for the third quarter were estimated at $827.5 billion, an increase of 5.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

E-commerce sales in the third quarter this year accounted for 1.3 percent of total sales, while in the third quarter of 2001 they were 1.1 percent of total sales, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

The e-commerce economy in the United States grew 34 percent year-over-year for the third quarter, government figures show.

In fact, the Commerce Department says that retail e-commerce sales for the third quarter of 2002 came to an estimated $11.061 billion, up from an estimated $10.243 billion for the second quarter.

The Commerce Department figures are based on a survey of about 11,000 retailers and then extrapolated. The government figures for some reason exclude estimates for some popular online purchases, such as airline and concert tickets and spending at online brokerages.

The Census Bureau defines e-commerce sales as sales of goods and services where an order is placed by the buyer or price and terms of sale are negotiated over the Internet, an extranet, Electronic Data Interchange network, electronic mail, or other online system. Payment may or may not be made online.

Census Bureau: www.census.gov

Commerce Dept.: www.commerce.gov