Cracking the categories: How the Top 1000 online retailers fared in 2016

The leaders in U.S. e-commerce—those ranked in the newly released Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000—collectively grew online sales 15.5% in 2016.

But breaking down the list by product categories shows that retailers selling certain types of products are faring much better online than others.

For instance, the 102 Top 1000 e-retailers that primarily sell goods for the home—including furniture, home decor and housewares—collectively grew their web sales 27.5% last year. That was by far the biggest growth rate of all 15 product categories Internet Retailer analyzes, and it likely reflects the strong U.S. home-buying market in 2016.

The Mass Merchant category was the second-fastest growing last year, though the bulk of that came from Amazon.com Inc. Without Amazon, the remaining 49 mass merchants ranked in the Top 1000 grew 11.3% last year, which lags the Top 1000 total growth.

The other categories that outgrew the U.S. e-commerce market as a whole include Health and Beauty (which grew 18.3% online last year), Specialty (with 18.2% growth) and Hardware and Home Improvement (16.2% growth).

On the other hand, Office Supplies retailers suffered the most, with a collective 2.0% decline online last year, while computer and electronics retailers grew just 4.0%.

The chart in this story shows 2016 and 2015 web sales as well as 2016 growth rate for all 15 categories. To access this and hundreds of other exclusive data points, charts and in-depth research reports, click here for membership options.

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