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Internet Retailer is out with its “top 500” report for 2019, concluding not just that Amazon, no surprise, continues to grow, but that some of the companies lowest down on the list actually are growing the fastest. Of course, some of this makes sense simply because they have smaller sales bases and so it is easier to show high percentage growth; but it also suggests that there is a lot of vitality up and down the market, not just at the top.

According to the study, the research shows that the North American retailers “ranked Nos. 401-500 this year grew their collective web revenue by 24.3% in 2018 over 2017, faster than the 20.0% growth of Amazon, and well above the 14.1% year-over-year ecommerce growth in North America.

“The Top 500 as a whole grew their worldwide online sales by 17.6% in 2018, and accounted for 89.8% of U.S. online retail sales in 2018, up nearly three percentage points from 87.0% in 2017. Amazon, by far the leading online retailer in North America, accounted for 22.4% of U.S. ecommerce in 2018, compared to 20.9% a year earlier.”

The report goes on: “While some believe Amazon is killing the operators of retail stores, store-grounded retailers are more than holding their own online. The 138 retail chains in the Top 500 grew their online sales by an average of 16.3% in 2018. And some did far better than that, including Walmart Inc., No. 3 in the Top 500, whose web sales increased 38.8% in 2018 and have grown by an average of 26% over the past five years.”

Another note from the Internet Retailer study:

“Consumer brand manufacturers in the Top 500 also grew rapidly online, increasing their web sales by 17.9% in 2018. Nike Inc. (No. 34) was among the big winners, growing by 25.0%. But so were the 31 digitally native brands that got their start on the web, though some now also sell through stores. These web-first brands, such as The Honest Co. (No. 135) and Glossier Inc. (No. 404), collectively increased their online sales by 29.5% in 2018, versus 17.4% for the rest of the Top 500.”
KC's View:
As I keep saying to people who suggest that what we’re seeing is a ‘retail Armageddon,” that’s nonsense … it certainly is a revolution, but there is room for a lot of companies - whether online or bricks-and-mortar or both - to survive and thrive if they’re willing to challenge orthodoxy, focus on creating experiences, and work to be both resonant and relevant. But you can’t put it off, and you can’t afford to be complacent. Not ever.