C&B Notes

How Big (or Small) Is Online Retail?

Online shopping has clearly been a disruption to traditional retailers, and the impacted companies are working hard to adapt to competition from Amazon.  However, the percentage growth figures tossed around concerning online retailing distort the overall shopping ‘base rate’: in-store sales continue to dwarf the volume of transactions happening on the internet.

The shift to online shopping has already turned Amazon into a behemoth, and is often cited as a factor in the decline of traditional stores.  And while it’s true that all the brick-and-mortar giants are scrambling to build out their own Internet operations, that’s only part of the story.  The other part is how small the online shopping industry still is, even as Amazon nears its 20th birthday.  Here’s the size of online sales relative to in-store ones: