The shares of 10 publicly traded online retailers that are in the Top 1000 ranking of North America’s leading web merchants gained an average of 159% this year, soaring far faster than major stock indices, even as the Dow Jones set a record by surpassing 30,000. But there still were some losers among the online retail stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassing 30,000 for the first time Tuesday signaled an impressive stock market rebound from the lows in March when the coronavirus outbreak sent share prices plummeting. And the stock prices of online-only retailers have grown even faster than the market average.

A basket of shares of 10 e-retailers ranked in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 increased in value by 159% since the beginning of 2020, far outpacing even the 33% gain in the tech-heavy NASDAQ index, and growing far faster than the increases in the broader S&P 500 and Dow indices.


But the gains for the online retail stocks were hardly across the board. Four of the 10 stocks registered triple-digit increases in prices, led by Inc. (No. 42) and (No. 200), formerly U.S. Auto Parts Network. But three others showed declines. Those three retailers—online consignment shop The RealReal Inc. (No. 695), marketplace and promotion service Groupon Inc. (No. 61) and mattress brand Casper Sleep Inc. (No. 145)—all face investor skepticism over their ongoing losses.


The growth in most online retail stocks reflects the surge in online shopping in recent months, says Eric Roth, a managing director at private equity firm MidOcean Partners who has tracked ecommerce firms for years. “Everything ecommerce has been way up since May, other than a few pockets, such as luxury, cooking kits and certain apparel,” Roth says. “If it’s home improvement or comfort or other hobbyist and enthusiast segments, it’s been up up and away.”

While the 159% increase for the 10 retailers that sell exclusively or primarily online reflects how much the shift to online shopping during the pandemic fueled broad investor appetite for ecommerce stocks, none of those e-retailers contributed to the Dow shooting past the psychologically significant 30,000 barrier. That’s because none of those 10 stocks are among the 30 companies in the Dow, an index that’s designed to provide a snapshot of the fortunes of major publicly traded U.S. companies.

Not even Inc., No. 1 in the Top 1000, is included in the Dow. If it had been, the Dow might have surpassed 30,000 even more quickly, as Amazon’s stock price has shot up by about 68% year to date.