$36 Billion in 1999

The rapid growth of online retailing in North America continues, with revenues expected to top $36 billion by the end of the year, and a projected growth rate of 145 percent for 1998. A survey conducted for "shop.org", a trade association for online retailers, found that total 1998 online revenues (in all categories) reached almost $15 billion, representing 0.5% of all retail sales. Online orders were up 200 percent, with the number of online shoppers up by 300 percent.

Observers say that the continued rapid rise in sales demonstrates that Internet retailing has come of age. Booming sales show that shopping online has entered the main stream consciousness, with the result being that sales will now grow even more rapidly.

While many people continue to believe that e-commerce is mainly being done by Web-only businesses, the truth is that more than 60 percent of the $15 billion in online revenues were from retailers who were in business before the Internet offered retail services. Catalogue, call centres and "brick-and-mortar" retailers are a growing force behind the continued growth of online retail, joining innovative new web shopping services in categori like travel and book and music retailing.

What does this mean for the consumer? More selection, more competition (especially because of the ease of setting up an online retail operation) and faster and better service. Online shoppers can compare products and prices instantly, and retailers who prosper in this ultra-competitive environment will be the ones with the sharpest pencils.<!–

Related website: MSN—>