Posted March 17, 2011 9:52 am by with 0 comments

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Ecommerce continues to grow but as with everything else in the Internet age there seems to be an acceleration of the maturity of the channel.

This isn’t really an issue but it does cause online marketers to focus their efforts less on new customer acquisition and more on helping existing online shoppers do even more of their shopping online.

An eMarketer study revealed that percentage growth numbers for ecommerce should decline. That only makes sense. The danger in this is that people will look at a chart showing a supposed decline in numbers when all it is really showing is strong growth in a dwindling number of new ecommerce users.

People get delusional in thinking that double digit growth can occur every year forever. That only goes to show how uneducated or uninformed many people are. It’s like the gasps you used to hear when Google would post ONLY a 39% gain in a quarter. Ridiculous but true.

Statistics are very powerful and dangerous all at once. It’s like handing a gun to someone who never had a lesson. They have a decent idea of how to use it (if they watch TV and movies that is) but when they actually apply it the chances of something bad happening are abnormally high. People who don’t REALLY look at statistics can be dangerous in a business situation as well in a similar fashion but without the physical danger (in most cases).

This next chart shows exactly why growth will ‘normalize’ over the next few years. It’s simply because most people are using the Internet for some level of ecommerce already so there are simply fewer new members to recruit.

The phenomenon is probably described best by the following statement from eMarketer principal analyst Jeffrey Grau.

“Most of the growth in ecommerce is coming from incumbent online buyers shifting more of their spending from stores to the internet rather than from the spending power of new online buyers,” said Grau.

So today’s lesson simply comes in the form of pay attention to what makes a graph or chart look the way it does. Just because a line points in a negative direction it doesn’t mean the news is necessarily bad. It’s up to the consumer of that data to use their brain and make sure any decisions that are made based on the data are made based in fact and not on emotion (or worse yet just simply not paying attention).