According to a recent article in the New York Times, e-Commerce is entering a period of stagnant sales, or even decline until the end of the decade.
Has online retailing entered the Dot Calm era?
Since the inception of the Web, online commerce has enjoyed hypergrowth, with annual sales increasing more than 25 percent over all, and far more rapidly in many categories. But in the last year, growth has slowed sharply in major sectors like books, tickets and office supplies.
Growth in online sales has also dropped dramatically in diverse categories like health and beauty products, computer peripherals and pet supplies. Analysts say it is a turning point and growth will continue to slow through the decade.
The reaction to the trend is apparent at Dell, which many had regarded as having mastered the science of selling computers online, but is now putting its PCs in Wal-Mart stores. Expedia has almost tripled the number of travel ticketing kiosks it puts in hotel lobbies and other places that attract tourists.
The slowdown is a result of several forces. Sales on the Internet are expected to reach $116 billion this year, or 5 percent of all retail sales, making it harder to maintain the same high growth rates. At the same time, consumers seem to be experiencing Internet fatigue and are changing their buying habits.
Frankly, I wonder if this isn’t mostly affecting the big stores online. I operate a number of small e-Commerce sites, and I have seen no stagnation or decline in sales. In fact, so far this has been a record year for my businesses. So, I have to wonder – am I the exception, or is this mostly the big guys that are experiencing this.
For me, I feel that if you find a good niche market that others can’t fill easily, you are in good shape. No matter what the trend is, if you have a niche that is difficult to find elsewhere, you will do well. That is how my various businesses online are, there are only limited places where you can get the things that I sell. I feel confident that my businesses will continue to flourish.
What about you? If you already have an online business, how are sales for you? If you don’t have an online business yet, does this scare you away from having one?