The Top 500: Gauging Impressive Growth
in the Transformation of the U.S. Retail Economy

In the 11 years that we've been publishing the Top 500 Guide®, one fact has been irrefutable and constant: Online retailing has been rapidly pacing store-based retailing and the Top 500 e-retailers stand at the vanguard of this massive shift in the U.S. retailing economy. While total retail sales in the U.S. grew 3.67% to $3 trillion in 2013, according to the Commerce Department, the growth rate in total online retailing sales turned out to be at least four times greater: $263.3 billion in 2013.

The Big Retail Picture: 2013 vs. 2012


 

Growth Rate

2013 Share of Total Retail

2012 Share of Total Retail

Total Retail

3.67%

100.00%

100.00%

Total E-Commerce

16.87%

8.58%

7.30%

Other Non-Store Excluding E-Commerce

3.50%

4.86%

6.95%

Top 500

17.11%

8.32%

7.01%


Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Internet Retailer.

Big E-Retailers Continue to Expand
Their Market Share

Continuing a long-standing pattern of gradual consolidation, the top-tier e-retailers in the Top 500—viewed as a group—grew faster than their smaller brethren, reflecting their vast marketing resources, recognized brand names and large customer bases. For example, the web merchants ranked from 1-200 in the Top 500 Guide® achieved the strongest growth rate in 2013 online sales, collectively boosting their online sales by 17.1%, while the group of 300 e-retailers ranked below them grew at an average rate of 12.5%.

The Top 10 E-Retailers in the U.S.

 

Rank & E-Retailer Merchandising Category 2013 Growth Rate
1. Amazon.com Mass Merchant 20.3%
2. Apple Inc.  Books / Music / Video 24.0%
3. Staples Inc.  Office Supplies 1.0%
4. Walmart.com Mass Merchant 30.3%
5. Sears Holdings Corp. Mass Merchant 16.7%
6. Liberty Interactive Corp. Mass Merchant 11.6%
7. Netflix Inc.  Books / Music / Video 21.2%
8. Macy's Inc.  Mass Merchant 31.0%
9. Office Depot Inc.  Office Supplies 1.0%
10. Dell Inc.  Computers / Electronics -9.0%

Source: Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide®

Meet the Fastest-Growing U.S. E-Retailers
in the Top 500 Rankings

Small e-retailers who exhibit a laser-like focus on a particular market niche and are committed to using the latest e-commerce technologies and the full range of online marketing tools can grow even faster than the big guys. Indeed, some of this year's fastest-growing web merchants catapulted themselves into the Top 500 from their position in last year's Second 500 Guide. Even more impressive is the fact that 11 of these trailblazers are appearing in Internet Retailer's American e-commerce rankings—let alone the Top 500 Guide® list—for the very first time. Thus, despite its gradual competitive consolidation, the U.S. e-commerce market is incredibly dynamic with plenty of room at the table for innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups.

The Fastest-Growing Top 500 Web Merchants

 

2014 Rank 2013 Rank E-Retailer Merchandising Category 2013 Growth Rate
495 NA Uniqlo Co.  Apparel / Accessories 341%
295 554 Real Real Inc. Apparel / Accessories 297%
95 202 NoMoreRack.com Mass Merchant 250%
342 629 Alex and Ani  Jewelry 250%
27 NA Google Play Books / Music / Video 162%
470 NA NatureBox Food / Drug 150%
118 201 JustFab.com Apparel / Accessories 145%
55 77 zulily Inc.  Apparel / Accessories 110%
480 646 Quantum Networks Computers / Electronics 110%
451 NA etailz Inc.  Mass Merchant 108%

Source: Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide®

The web sales of the 159 store chains ranked in the 2014 Top 500 Guide® grew 16.7% last year, roughly equal to the growth of all e-commerce in the U.S. And while that growth rate was topped by the 21% growth of the 197 web-only merchants in the Top 500 Guide®, a closer look at individual e-retailers shows how major chains implementing aggressive web strategies are growing faster than the overall market and even faster than the pure-plays.

The 10 Fastest-Growing Major Retail Chains in the 2014 Top 500

 

Company (Major* Retail Chain) 2014 Top 500 Rank Growth Rate
1. Dick's Sporting Goods 72 65%
2. AutoZone Inc. 108 59%
3. The Home Depot Inc. 16 54%
4. Costco Wholesale Corp. 14 48%
5. Lowe's Cos. Inc. 36 45%
6. Ascena Retail Group 89 33%
7. LuLuLemon Athletica Inc. 112 33%
8. Macy's Inc.  8 31%
9. Walmart.com  4 30%
10. Nordstrom Inc.  24 30%

Source: Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide® | *Major Retail Chain = Online sales in 2013 exceeding $250 million.

Top 500 Facts
16.9%

Growth rate in 2013 U.S. e-commerce sales

17.1%

How much the Top 500 grew in 2013

250%

2013 e-commerce growth rate for NoMoreRack.com

20.3%

Amazon’s 2013 growth rate

Key Features

  • Sales Figures2013 web sales of the 500 largest U.S. e-retailers

  • Thorough Analysis263 total metrics per profiled e-retailer: financial, operations, performance and others

  • Comprehensive ScopeFeature articles spotlight all Top 500 trends

  • Industry Contacts2,272 online retailing executives

See all features

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