Six of the web's top 10 e-commerce sites sold computers or related products, according to the National Retail Federation's magazine STORES, in its list of the top 100 largest electronic retailers in the U.S.
STORES compiled the list by conducting a survey of more than 1,100 households from August 1998 to July 1999. The e-tailers were ranked according to estimated consumer sales compiled from the responses of Internet buyers. Web sites offering financial services, cars or travel services were excluded from the list.
Nearly half of the companies ranked on the list consider e-commerce their primary channel, and all can chronicle their selling history in five years or less, the STORES report shows.
The impending demise of brick & mortar retailers at the hands of the virtuals has been exaggerated, according to the survey. Twenty-one of the web sites ranked in the Top 100 are traditional retailers at heart, while 25 of the included sites earned their reputations as catalog and direct-mail operators.
The success of land-based retailers venturing onto the web has a lot to do with their marketing established brands and their advantages in the realm of customer service, the report said.
Computers remain one of the most sought-after product categories on the Internet, and 27 e-tailers have computer hardware and/or software as their offering. Ten sites, including Apple.com, Microsoft.com, Gateway.com and Dell.com, are manufacturers. The strong computer showing is not surprising. After all, consumers need a computer to access the Internet, and that should continue to stoke sales in the category.