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The importance of the e-commerce channel

January 5, 2006

The 2005 Christmas and Holiday season was a lot about eCommerce and, to a lesser extent, B2B (Business-to-Business).

As proof of this, a recently published report from comScore Networks estimates that U.S. consumers spent about $19.6 billion on eCommerce sites (excluding travel) from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2005.

That's up 25 percent from the corresponding figure from the previous (2004) holiday season, $15.7 billion.

The growth of consumer-driven e-commerce wasn't limited to the holiday season, with comScore Networks estimating that 2005 Internet spending, including travel, came in at $143.2 billion, a 22 percent boost over the $117.2 billion 2004 figure.

To understand the importance of this growth in context, look at the same-store sales growth figures for some major retailers this past quarter.

         --- Wal-Mart: 2.2 percent
         --- J.C. Penney: 2.2 percent
         --- Target: 4.7 percent
         --- Costco: 7 percent
         --- Nordstrom: 7.7 percent

The good news for both brick-and-mortar and online channels is that spending was up this holiday season. Looking forward, though, brick-and-mortar retailers need to acknowledge the much faster growth of online sales and take the channel more seriously.

Source: eMarketer

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