Last week Shop.org and Forrester surveyed 96 Shop.org member companies about their sales. The sample: a mix of multichannel retailers and pureplays. About 1/3 under $10mil, about 1/3 $10 to $100mil, and about 1/3 over $100mil in web revenue. Average web revenue $150mil. The finding: half of the retailers surveyed reported November 2008 sales beat November 2007 sales.
Now, that's half reporting a sales increase, not an earnings increase. Discounting likely played a big role. And if 50% of respondents enjoyed sales growth, then the other half didn't -- the "glass-half-empty" view. And many respondents were large store retailers, perhaps still showing strong y-o-y because they were late to the web.
Sure, sure, sure. A pessimist can spin these Shop.org data negatively. Online sales could be stronger. Certainly.
But, as we've pointed out before here and here, despite the sky-is-falling stories in the popular press, we're not seeing utter collapse in online sales. Not across our clients. Not across non-client industry friends sharing numbers. And not across these 96 Shop.org retailers.
Some retailers are having a very very tough time. Other retailers are seeing growth. The situation is quite mixed.Stories of across-the-board retail catastrophe may drive news ratings, but they don't help the economy. And they don't reflect what's actually happening online.