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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Headlines Tuesday painted a picture of a booming U.S. retail market: Amazon's well-covered Prime Day(s) generated an estimated $5.8 billion of sales and the Commerce Department's retail sales report showed an especially strong reading for June.

Yes, but: A deeper dive into the data shows retail sales growth is slowing, with the all-important online component — the major source of growth, as brick-and-mortar sales struggle — cooling notably.

"While several negative developments in late 2018 ... could have contributed to consumers’ skittishness, no single event could explain why shoppers curtailed spending growth in the second half of the year and continue to do so."
— Christa Hart, a senior managing director at FTI Consulting

The big picture: More U.S. companies are doing business online than ever before, but online retail sales growth has been decelerating for 4 consecutive quarters, data from FTI Consulting's 2019 U.S. Online Retail Forecast shows.

  • FTI's 20-year data set suggests that "online sales growth may have hit an inflection point and may experience decelerating growth going forward."
  • Retail sales overall have pulled back from 5%–6% growth in early 2018 to the mid-3% range so far this year, "for no obvious reason."
  • Even Tuesday's strong U.S. retail sales report puts growth on pace for just 3.5% year-over-year, well below the pace of the previous 2 years and below the longer-term average.

What's happening: Online sales are taking a larger portion of overall retail, and slowing growth in that segment is reflecting slowing growth overall.

  • "The key finding relates to multiple periods of e-commerce growth decline, which does not align with what we have seen over the past decade," FTI's managing director of corporate finance and restructuring John Yozzo, tells Axios in an email.

Details: Online sales growth has slowed to an average of 13.3% in the most recent 4 quarters from 16.1% a year earlier. It has weakened further to the low-12% range in the 2 most recent quarters. FTI projects the growth rate will fall to 5.9% in 10 years.

  • "The degree to which this decrease in online growth manifests itself over the next year is yet to be known," Yozzo said, "but analysis suggests we may be experiencing an inflection point in e-commerce where the overall rate of growth remains in the low double digits."

Go deeper: Axios' Deep Dive on the future of retail

Editor's note: This story was corrected to show overall retail sales had been growing 5%–6% (not online retail sales).

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.