North America’s leading online retailers increased their worldwide online sales by 17.6% in 2018, according to the just-released 2019 Internet Retailer Top 1000 Report. If you exclude top-ranked Amazon.com Inc., whose 20.0% growth brings up the Top 1000 average, the rest of the Top 1000 would have increased their ecommerce sales by 16.6% in 2018.
That’s significantly higher than the 14.2% increase in online retail sales in the United States as reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the 14.7% increase in Canada. That means the Top 1000 online retailers gained market share over their smaller rivals.
And growth was widespread within the Top 1000. In fact, 475 Top 1000 companies increased their online sales by more than 15%, well above the overall growth for the ecommerce market, and 341 increased their online sales by more than Amazon’s 20.0% growth rate.
Store-based retailers thrive online
Retailers that primarily sell online represent the largest group in the Top 1000, 392 companies, and they grew the fastest, at 19.7%. That growth figure only drops to 19.0% without Amazon, showing that online retailers continue to post aggressive growth.
Consumer brand manufacturers also managed above-market growth of 18.0% in online sales. And retail chains that sell primarily through bricks-and-mortar stores grew web sales by 16.1%, as such big players as Walmart Inc. (No. 3 in the Top 1000), The Home Depot Inc. (No. 7), Target Corp. (No. 16) and Kroger Co. (No. 17) posted year-over-year growth of more than 25%.
Only retailers that primarily sell via catalogs or call centers failed to keep up with the overall market, increasing their web sales by 9.9% in 2018 over 2017.
And it wasn’t only big retailers making gains in ecommerce. The retailers ranked Nos. 401-600 collectively increased their web sales by 22.5%.
However, some competitors ran aground in 2018: 15 retailers in last year’s Top 1000 declared bankruptcy, and two-thirds of those retailers operate bricks-and-mortar stores as well as sell online.
Key ecommerce trends among top retailers
- One is the growth of online grocery sales: Food/Beverage was the fastest growing of 14 merchandise categories tracked in the Top 1000.
- Many making their Top 1000 debut are digitally native, vertically integrated companies, often called DNVBs, including wooden watch maker Tree Hut, male hair care provider Hims and subscription contact lens retailer Hubble.
- Among the fastest-growing retailers in the ranks are Nectar Sleep and Hibbett Sports. Nectar Sleep (No. 211) took the No. 1 spot in the Top 1000 for growth with a 525.0% jump in ecommerce in 2018. The mattress retailer attracted attention after releasing a “Make America Sleep Again” video ad featuring cartoon characters of President Donald Trump, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un of North Korea, and the spoof received more than 13 million YouTube views. Hibbett Sports Inc. (No. 492), which first got into ecommerce in 2017, was the fastest grower among new entrants to the Top 1000 with 175.7% web sales growth in the last year.
The 2019 Top 1000 Analysis Report is based on an annual study by Internet Retailer’s research team, which collects more than 200 data points for each company in the rankings. This exclusive data on the largest online retailers in North America is offered in the all-new 2019 Internet Retailer Top 1000 Analysis Report and Online Databases.
What’s in the 160-page 2019 Top 1000 Analysis Report:
- More than 50 charts and tables that quantify the shifts in online retailing.
- An analysis of ecommerce versus total retail growth over the past decade.
- Data on which retailers and brands are growing the fastest and slowest, broken down by merchant type, merchandise category and size.
- In-depth looks at the ecommerce performance of web-only retailers, retail chains, consumer brands manufacturers, and retailers with roots in print catalogs and TV shopping shows.
- A report on Amazon’s recent initiatives and the response of competitors and government regulators.
- Data from consumer surveys on how they shop online, their view of Amazon, how they view in-store pickup, their propensity to return online orders and more.
- Benchmarks giving industry averages for such key metrics as conversion rate and average order value by merchant type and merchandise category, free shipping policies, loyalty programs, website activity and features, digital marketing programs, shopper demographics and more.
- Summaries of recent developments in such areas as online marketplaces, mobile commerce, omnichannel strategies, holiday sales and online grocery sales.
The Top 1000 Online Database is available in three membership tiers: Basic, Basic Plus, and a more inclusive Pro version for corporate clients wanting multiple user licenses, more extensive data and data download capabilities. Learn more about what’s included in each Top 1000 Online Database tier.