In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
A greater population online feeling more comfortable about web-based shopping and improved service from retailers will fuel growth of online shopping this year, to $75 billion from $49.8 billion last year, eMarketer predicts.
B2B and b2c online sales this year will grow 23% to $75 billion, up from $49.8 billion in 2001, New York-based research firm eMarketer Inc. predicts in its new North America eCommerce B2C and B2B Report. Online sales are expected to reach $155.6 billion in 2005. EMarketer also predicts that more than half of the 123.4 million U.S. Internet users aged 14 and up will buy goods and services online over the course of this year.
The company attributes growth to several factors, including a more diverse population of Internet users, long-term users becoming more comfortable shopping online more often, the future usage of mobile devices for online shopping and an improving economy. "You have to credit the online survivors for some of the success of the B2C market," said Nevin Cohen, senior analyst. "E-retailers that weathered the dot-com fallout now provide more detailed product information, advanced search and comparison functions, wider shipping options and better customer assistance than they did in 2000." EMarketer notes that online sales are growing faster than general retail sales: In Q4 2001, online sales increased 34.4% over Q3 while retail sales overall grew 9.5%.