As U.S. online sales increased at a faster rate in 2008 than total retail sales in 2007, chain retailers with collective e-commerce sales prospered best. According to an original analysis of data for Internet Retailer, e-commerce sales increased by 19 percent, whereas chains with collective e-commerce sales saw sales increased to 31.9 percent in 2008.
75 of the top 500 web merchants consist of 51 web-only merchants, 14 catalog companies, 8 chain retailers and 2 consumer brand manufacturers. Their collective e-commerce sales increased to $8.33 billion in 2008. According to the National Retail Federation, entire U.S. retail sales in 2008 increased by 1.4 percent to an expected $2.4 trillion.
The next fastest growing section after the chain retailers with collective e-commerce sales was web-only merchants, which increased combined sales by 19.3 percent to $3.65 billion, which was followed by catalog companies.
With several jewelry firms conveying fear, almost horror, from online diamond retailers like Blue Nile, the analysis provided a flash of hope. If independents and regionals will take up an aggressive online strategy, they could probably turn the movement on their diminishing businesses and obtain more sales, supported by the high quality personal service.