Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
The make-up of the second-largest market in e-commerce has been a mystery—until now.
Do a Google search on the phrase “top 500 e-retailers” and the first page or more of results will refer to the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, which profiles and ranks North America’s 500 largest e-retailers based on their online sales. Since the publication of its first edition in May 2004, the Top 500 Guide has become the largest-selling and most frequently referenced research book on e-commerce in North America. With more than 100,000 facts and figures on web retailing in the U.S., we believe the Guide warrants our calling it the “Bible of E-Retailing.”
Now we are publishing for the first time a companion publication to the Top 500 Guide—the Top 300 Europe—which ranks, profiles and provides many competitive details on the 300 largest e-retail businesses in Europe, the second-largest e-commerce market in the world. This 208-page research guide is the first publication to rank Europe’s leading e-retailers, and it is our response to scores of inquiries we get every year for a publication that provides for Europe the type of competitive information on e-retailers that the Top 500 Guide provides for North America.
More important, the introduction of the Top 300 Europe underscores our belief that online retailing, much more than store-based retailing, is a global market. Building a worldwide chain of retail stores is a nearly impossible feat for all but the very largest and most powerful of retail brands. The same is not true for online merchants, because the Internet doesn’t recognize borders. And with modern logistics, sending packages around the world is not the imposing task it once was. All of which means that Americans can buy online from European retail web sites almost as easily as they can from U.S. merchants. The reverse, of course, is also true.
Before retail chains began appearing in the early part of the 20th century, retail competition was a local matter. A retailer could succeed merely by out-competing other retailers in town. The advent of chain retailing increased the competitive stakes, and decade after decade the chains made it harder for local merchants to survive. Now, web-based retailing expands the boundaries of retailing once more, taking competition to an even higher level of sophistication.
E-retailers must now monitor not just competitors in their own countries, but also competitors—and competitive opportunities—abroad. The web also enables merchants in one country to learn from the techniques of merchants anywhere around the world without having to spend a prohibitive amount of time and money getting that education through travel.
For these reasons, we believe our new Top 300 Europe provides valuable competitive insights for American e-retailers as much as it does for the European e-retailers it profiles and ranks. Here’s just a brief summary of what the Top 300 Europe reveals:
- In 2010, the top U.S. retailers, including Amazon, increased their web-based European sales 24.8% to a combined 15.5 billion euros (US$21.3 billion) from 12.4 billion euros (US$17.1 billion).
- In 2010, U.S. web merchants accounted for about 27% of Top 300 Europe sales and 15.6% of all European e-retail sales.
- Only about 20% of the top 300 web retailers in Europe have a mobile commerce site and about 25% have a mobile app. In comparison, about 50% of Internet Retailer Top 500 merchants have an m-commerce site.
You can obtain more details on the Top 300 Europe at InternetRetailer.com, where you can purchase a copy of the new research guide for only $65 plus shipping starting March 10, 2011.
Jack Love, Publisher