Among home goods retailers, online sales for mattress retailers grew fastest, even though growth for that subcategory cooled in 2017.

Online sales of housewares and home furnishings by home goods e-retailers in the  Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000 soared in 2017, led by the outdoor and mattress subcategories.

Cumulative web sales for the 109 home goods retailers in the Top 1000 increased 29.3% in 2017—considerably higher than online sales for any of the other 15 product categories tracked by Internet Retailer and almost 11 percentage points higher than the 18.5% cumulative web sales growth rate for the Top 1000 as a whole.

As is the case in other categories, some of the biggest players in the online home goods market are mass merchants, notably Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1 in the Top 1000), which controls more than a quarter of the online home goods market. The 109 Top 1000 retailers that specialize in home goods controlled just under half of the e-commerce home goods market. All others, including Walmart Inc. (No. 3) and Overstock.com Inc. (No. 32), had about the same market share as Amazon.

Among e-retailers that specialize in home goods, the largest are web-only retailer Wayfair Inc. (No. 13) and retail chain Williams-Sonoma Inc. (No. 25).

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Wayfair Inc. reported revenue of $4.6 billion in 2017, up 42.5% compared with 2016. But, the company’s 2017 net loss grew $244.6 million, up almost 26% compared to 2016. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Wayfair’s losses ballooned even faster, reaching $360.2 million, more than double the $171.8 million for the year-earlier period.

More recently, Wayfair reported a 58% increase in online sales for the five-day peak shopping period of Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Wayfair said its sales were highest on Cyber Monday, but Black Friday posted the largest year-over-year increase in online sales.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. (No. 25), founded in 1956, has made e-commerce a priority and is now making the majority of its sales—52.2% in 2017—online. For the first nine months of fiscal 2018, ended Oct. 28, Williams-Sonoma reported that e-commerce represented 54.2% of its overall sales.


E-commerce’s share of total home goods sales was 21.9% of the $205.3 billion market in 2017, a marked jump from 17.6% a year earlier. E-commerce accounted for 97.3% of the growth in home goods sales in 2017.

Mattress retailers lead the pack

Mattress retailers were the fastest-growing home goods subcategory in 2017. Online sales for the 14 mattress retailers in the Top 1000 grew 60.6%. That impressive growth rate, however, was down 30 percentage points from the sales growth experienced by those retailers in 2016, when those retailers had online sales growth above 90%.

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Two other subcategories had online sales growth above 50%. Cumulative online sales for the five retailers in the outdoor subcategory grew 57.8% in 2017. And, as a group, online sales for the 11 small appliances and electronics retailers grew 50.3%.

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