business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • E-Commerce Times reports that shopping over the Internet reached an all-time high during the third quarter of 2002, generating more than $11 billion in sales for the period. This was a better than 34 percent increase over the same period a year earlier, and a better than seven percent increase over the second quarter of the current year.

    Online sales during the quarter still represent just a fraction of total retail sales, at 1.3 percent.

    Analysts cautioned that to some extent the jump from 2001 figures may be attributable to last year's September 11 terrorist attacks.

  • Nielsen/NetRatings reported that there were more than 109 million online shopping trips during the week ended November 3, a 12 percent increase. The top three performers were toys and games, consumer electronics, and books/music/video.

  • Projections for online sales during the fourth quarter and 2002 holiday season remain optimistic.

    o Forrester Research predicts that online holiday sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas should be up 14 percent over last year, to $9.5 billion, despite the fact that the holiday shopping period is a week shorter than a year ago (which may actually play into the Internet's favor).

    o Jupiter Media Metrix measures online holiday shopping between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, and it expects online sales to grow during that period by 17 percent, to $13.1 billion.

  • Each holiday season, has a "Delight-O-Meter" that tracks the number of items sold at its various sites, including the companies with which its has strategic alliances such as Target and Toys R Us. The meter starts on November 1…and as of this writing, there have been in excess of 21 million items sold by

KC's View:
While clearly the Internet hasn't had the enormous financial impact on retailing that some thought it might just a few years ago, when there were some who believed that in short order it would account for 10 or 20 percent of all retail sales, it would be a mistake to suggest that the internet hasn't had anything other than a seismic impact on the world of shopping.

This is most important when it comes to our kids, who have grown up in a world in which and eBay and Yahoo! and AOL are all facts of life, not technological marvels. This will, we believe, inform their choices as they get older and become the food industry's customers…which is why we believe that Albertsons and Safeway and Ahold's Peapod are so smart to be laying the track upon which this train will run for many, many years. It's also why the retailers like Harris Teeter, Roth's, Dorothy Lane and Lowe's that have used services like MyWebGrocer are savvy, because they acknowledge their limitations when it comes to these kinds of technological challenges and then transcend them with help. (Full disclosure here: MyWebGrocer is a sponsor of MNB.)

To ignore this future is to risk irrelevance.