Is It the End of the eCommerce World as We Know It?
By Brittany Thompson
The New York Times stirred up a bit of controversy today by publishing an article claiming that the eCommerce industry is slowing down. Referring to the current state of online sales as â€œthe Dot Calm Era,â€ the article uses current trends, research statistics and even word-of-mouth to back this theory.
â€œGrowth in online sales has also dropped dramatically in diverse categories like health and beauty products, computer peripherals and pet supplies,â€ the article states. â€œAnalysts say it is a turning point and growth will continue to slow through the decade.â€
A report released on Wednesday by market research company Forrester Research anticipates online sales will rise 18 percent in 2007. Online sales, including travel, are expected to reach $259 billion by the end of this year, with apparel leading the way. Looking at the bright side, the online retail business is not on a downslide. On the contrary, eBusiness is still growing â€“ even if itâ€™s not growing as quickly as previous years.
While the New York Times article discusses how San Francisco retailers are trying to get more in-store shoppers by â€œlivening upâ€ their stores and trying â€œto be more alluring,â€ it fails to mention the fact that most online businesses have been doing the same thing. Rich media content, more accessible designs, and hip, vibrant colors are all common themes among online retailers.
Critics believe that the New York Times might be publishing the article as a way of blaming online retail woes for its own financial struggles or using hype to gain readers. Over at Threadwatch.org, â€œlots0â€ was skeptical: â€œThe NYT is looking at huge losses… Gee, I wonder why they would spread false rumors that the end of the Internet as we know it is near, very near.â€
Meanwhile, â€œghotiâ€ took a very hopeful approach after reading the article:
â€œThere’s no decline in sales… It’s just a slower increase in sales. â€¦ Why would it surprise anyone that growth slows down as you reach higher market penetration?â€
Taking all of this into consideration, I think itâ€™s fitting to end with one of my personal favorite R.E.M. lyrics:
â€œItâ€™s [not] the end of the [eCommerce] world as we know itâ€¦ and I feel fine.â€
About Brittany Thompson
Brittany Thompson is the founder of SEOForumWatch.com as well as a graphic and web designer. In addition to writing for Marketing Pilgrim, sheâ€™s been published by WebProNews and WebProWorld.