By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Consumers, apparently ignoring the slowing economy and reports of a dot-com meltdown, made $25.8 billion in online purchases last year, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The sales data, which excludes service-based buys such as airline and concert tickets, also revealed something of an e-commerce milestone: For the first time, fourth-quarter e-tail sales—pegged at $8.7 billion—exceeded 1 percent of total retail revenue, or $856.2 billion, during the three-month period. What's more, fourth-quarter cybersales were up 35.9 percent over the preceding quarter and outpaced the final quarter of 1999 by 67.1 percent.
SPOKANE, WASH. —OneCall.com, the seven-year-old e-commerce arm of Huppin's Hi-Fi, has reached the $50 million mark in 2000 year-end sales. What's more, the site, which specializes in high-tech, leading-edge A/V products, is making money. "2000 was a remarkable year for Huppin's and OneCall," said Murray Huppin, president of the 92-year-old, fourth-generation independent retailer, based here. "We continue to execute our business strategies resulting in growth of both sales and profit in this ultra-competitive market." Those strategies, which have won kudos from Bizrate.com and Audio Survey, include a wide assortment, interactive navigation tools, human interaction and accessible product experts. "We are fortunate that our model is clearly working for us at a time when so many other CE e-tailers are struggling," Huppin said.
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF. —GetPlugged.com, the specialty A/V marketing and selling site, has once again garnered inclusion in Forbes.com's exclusive "Best of the Web" e-tail reviews. Forbes' Spring 2001 edition lists the information and referral service within its Luxe Shopping section under the "computers and electronics" category, where it is described as "Smartly organized with clicks for learn, buy and build. The Learn Library offers extensively detailed resources on a wide range of subjects, ranging from the three primary sound formats for home theater to dealer contacts for custom installations." GetPlugged, a wholly owned subsidiary of KnowledgeLINKS, also received high marks from Bizrate.com, an independent rating service based on consumer feedback. On a scale of 1 to 10, the site scored 8.8 for ease of ordering, 8.7 for product information, 8.5 for product selection and another 8.8 for shipping and handling.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.