May 7, 2008, 12:00 AM

The Top 500 web retailers crank the industry’s growth engine in 2007

The 500 largest online retailers generated the business that keeps the web as the retailing industry`s fastest growing channel, according to Internet Retailer`s new 2008 Top 500 Guide. The Top 500 grew their combined sales to $101.7 billion.

America’s 500 largest online retailers accounted for 61% of all e-commerce sales in 2007 and once more generated the business that keeps the Internet as the retailing industry`s fastest growing channel, according to Internet Retailer`s just released 2008 Top 500 Guide.

In 2007, many retailers struggled with weak store and catalog sales. By contrast, e-commerce was the retailing industry’s growth engine. In 2007, the business-to-consumer e-commerce market, which includes the Internet Retailer Top 500, grew nearly six times faster than total retail sales. Last year online retail sales reached $165.9 billion, an increase of 21.6% from $136.2 billion a year earlier. Meanwhile, total retail sales grew by 3.9% to $2.41 trillion from $2.32 trillion in 2006, according to the National Retail Federation.

The Top 500-just off the press--is available at http://www.internetretailer.com/top500/.

In 2007, the Top 500 grew their combined sales to $101.7 billion, an increase of 21.6% from web sales of $83.6 billion in 2006. The rest of the market, including an estimated $38 billion in eBay Inc.-originated sales that could be considered retail sales, accounted for $64.2 billion in sales, up 22% from $52.6 billion a year earlier. 2007 sales at the Top 100 grew to $87.7 billion -22.5% - from $71.6 billion in 2006.

In 2007 the Top 500 accounted for 61.3% of all sales, up from 60.2% a year earlier. As in previous years, it was the largest web-only retailers and big national chains, catalogers and consumer brand manufacturers with an Internet channel that accounted for the biggest share of the market.

Among the Top 500, the biggest 100 accounted for 86% of sales, or $87.7 billion. The Top 100 controlled 86% of the market last year, when their combined sales were $71.6 billion. Smaller niche merchants also grew web sales but not as fast as the Top 100. Last year combined revenue of the Top 500’s 100 smallest merchants-companies with annual web sales ranging from $6.4 million to $13.4 million-rose by 19% to $995.5 million from $836.3 million in 2006.

The Top 500 Guide ranks America’s 500 largest web retailing organizations based on annual sales. Each retailer’s listing also includes: site traffic, conversion rate, average ticket, senior management, key vendors and where each retailer ranks in the market they serve. The Top 500 Guide includes 148 e-retail businesses that are owned or operated by store-based retail chains, 82 by catalog and direct-marketing firms, 51 by consumer branded manufacturers and 219 by web-only retailers.

The Top 500 Guide sells for $65 for a single copy plus $9.95 for shipping and handling. To order, click here.

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