According to the latest report from Internet business marketing tracker eMarketer, online sales from the first quarter of 2009 have been mixed. It appears as if the recession is being felt in online retail and Internet business marketing, but not to the extent of other business realms. And it even appears as if some Internet business marketing and online businesses and are doing better than they were last year at this point.
So here are some quick numbers: online sales have seen an 11% increase, but that doesn’t cover all areas on the online and Internet business marketing retail space. The eMarketer report says that only 58% of all those selling online have seen a significant increase in sales. The chart below shows that the biggest beneficiaries in the last quarter have been brands that sell goods directly from company Websites, while sales of web-only merchants have remained stagnant.
So what could account for the big boost for brands and not for web-only merchants? It could be that less people are visiting brick and mortar stores and more are simply buying online. Since many of these shoppers are new to online purchasing, buying direct from brand retailers offers some familiarity for these novice online shoppers.
So what does that mean? It means that there could be a possible silver lining here for online retailers and Internet business marketing professionals of all stripes. Look at it this way: there’s evidence that the recession is persuading more and more people to try online shopping. Even if their initial shopping experiences are with familiar brands and companies (like the online Nike or Apple stores) it’s very possible that they’ll soon branch out to try other online retailers. As new online shoppers grow more comfortable with the online shopping experience, they could start patronizing Web merchants of all types.
Or am I being too optimistic? Let me know what you think.