March 4, 2011, 4:05 PM

Web-only merchants lead so far among Top 500 merchant categories

Combined sales increased year over year 34.9%.

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Web-only merchants as a group continue to generate the most sales among this year’s Top 500 retailers and take business away from the rest of the market, according to a preliminary analysis of data for the forthcoming 2011 Top 500 Guide.

Combined revenue for the 176 merchants that have so far reported annual web sales increased 27.4% to $62.48 billion in 2010 from $49.04 billion in 2009. And web-only merchants make up the fastest-growing Top 500 merchant category so far with collective sales that increased year over year 34.9% to $45.6 billion in 2010 from $33.8 billion in the prior year. The results for the web-only merchants include Amazon.com, whose sales grew nearly 40% last year to $34.2 billion. But even without Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, sales for the remaining online-only retailers grew year over year 22.6% to $11.4 billion from $9.3 billion.

The analysis of 100 web-only merchants, 41 retail chains, 28 catalog/call center companies and 7 consumer brand manufacturers also reveals:

  • Top 500 consumer brand manufacturers posted combined sales of $549.3 million in 2010 from $410.8 million in 2009, an increase of 33.7%.
  • Store-based retailers continue to generate more business online. The combined web sales of chain retailers grew 12.4% to $11.8 billion last year from $10.5 billion in 2009.
  • Catalogers posted the lowest growth rate among all Top 500 merchant types in 2010, growing web sales 4.1% year over year to $4.53 billion from $4.35 billion.
  •  Without Amazon, the remaining 175 merchants experienced annual growth of 15.3% from sales of $24.53 billion in 2009 to $28.28 billion in 2010.
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