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Internet Retailer's new Top 500 Guide shows big growth for web-only merchants.
These days an increasingly digitally connected consumer is doing even more of her shopping online, and there are a growing number of “for rent” and “space available” signs in front of malls and shopping centers. Those two trends speak volumes about the shifting—and increasingly competitive—landscape of online retailing in the U.S. and Canada, according to an analysis of the data available in Internet Retailer’s newly published 2012 Top 500 Guide.
Consider these facts:
- The retail industry grew as a whole in 2011, but e-commerce remains the fastest-growing channel. While total U.S. retail sales as measured by the U.S. Department of Commerce grew year over year about 5.5% to $2.88 trillion from $2.73 trillion, U.S. e-commerce sales grew 16.1% to $194.3 billion in 2011 from $167.3 billion in the prior year. All Top 500 retailers, including those based in the U.S. and Canada, grew sales year over year 20.4% to $180.73 billion from $150.13 billion.
- Amazon again outpaced the market. The No. 1 e-retailer increased its sales 40.6% to $48.08 billion in 2011 from $34.20 billion in 2010. Amazon’s growth rate was double that of the Top 500 as a whole, including Amazon. Without Amazon, the Top 500 grew 14.4%.
- But it’s not just Amazon. Web-only merchants continue to take market share from everyone else. In 2011, Top 500 web-only merchants grew much faster than every other merchant type—about 32% to a combined $73.39 billion in 2011 from $55.68 billion in 2010. Even without Amazon Inc., No. 1 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500, online-only merchants in the Top 500 grew their combined sales by 17.8% to $25.31 billion from $21.48 billion in 2010, a higher growth rate than any other type of web merchant.
- Other categories of web retailers also grew e-commerce last year, but not as much as Internet-only merchants. Store-based retailers grew year over year by 14.7% to $64.63 billion from $56.36 billion, while Top 500 catalog/call center companies increased their combined web sales about 12.3% to $22.32 billion in 2011 from $19.87 billion in 2010. Collectively, the consumer brand manufacturers ranked in the 2012 Top 500 grew their combined web sales year over year about 12% to $20.40 billion from $18.21 billion.
The fastest-growing Top 500 retailer in the latest ranking is web-only merchant Jackthreads.com, No. 440 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500. The e-retailer, which increased 2011 web sales by about 359% to $20.2 million from $4.4 million in 2010, is on the sales fast-track because the company is focused exclusively on servicing its core shopping audience of fashion-conscious young men. To enhance growth online last year Jackthreads broadened its social media program, adding new features such as a $10 credit for a member whose product Like on the company’s Facebook page leads to a purchase by another shopper. “We added some social tools in 2011 and made it easy to share items through Facebook and Twitter when a shopper is making a purchase,” says CEO Jason Ross.
But not every Top 500 retailer grew its e-commerce channel in 2011. In the wake of an ongoing company restructuring, web sales for Coldwater Creek Inc., No. 134 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500 dropped 29.2% to an Internet Retailer-estimated $136 million in 2011 from $192.1 million in 2011, while a drop in the popularity of a line of athletic shoes contributed to a decline in web sales for Skechers USA Inc., No. 441, of 27.2% to $20.1 million in 2011 from $27.6 million in 2010.
For the first time the Top 500 is available in three forms: print, digital and as part of the all-new and completely updated Top500Guide.com. Information on how to order the fully updated 2012 Top 500 Guide is available here.