The current on-line retailing world looks quite a bit different from what was expected when the dot com boom was on everyone’s mind, says a report by Transport Intelligence. For one thing, the Internet-only retailers are a small force compared with the relative success of traditional retailers and catalogue merchants who added the Internet as a marketing and distribution channel. In total, the on-line segment was expected to ring up sales of $15 billion during the Christmas period and $66 billion for the full year – a 25% increase.
In the United Kingdom, the world’s second largest on-line market, sales were also expected to be strong, reaching $17.1 billion.
On-line sales have been a mixed blessing for the express and parcel delivery companies. Many ramped up in anticipation of a boom that was delayed and were caught with expansions and acquisitions that were difficult to justify in the wake of the dot com bust. Justifications for those expansions were not, however, limited to expected growth in Internet shopping. Increased globalization and wider acceptance of a one-stop shopping experience helped balance some of the aggressive expansion.
With 59 million Internet users, China is getting a lot of cautious attention. The caution springs from the fact that China has not developed a credit card culture or financial infrastructure to support the widespread use of credit cards. It’s transportation infrastructure and weak logistics supply side also indicate it could be a few years before the on-line shopping revolution reaches China.