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E-commerce sales as a share of total retail sales (Dotted line represents projection)

1 in 6.5 People Are Surprised by this Blog Post

For many of us, the internet seems like our No. 1 store. During the pandemic, e-commerce was a lifeline to products. However, you have to keep the data in perspective as you make decisions.

E-commerce sales were just under 4% of all retail sales in 2008. It is expected to top 15% in 2021. That is impressive, steady growth for 13 years, but it is less than 1% growth per year on average.

Now, think of it in reverse. In-store sales make up 85% of all retail sales. Now that is a significant number. What does 15% mean? Around 15% of Americans don’t use the internet at all. Is that a big number? We tip 15% for service in a bar or restaurant. Is that a big number? It’s not “everyone” and it is not “no one.” The fact is that, today, e-commerce makes up 15% of all retail sales.

What is important is the trend. It is steady. It is growing. And you need to make sure that you are putting forth 15% of your efforts toward learning and experimenting in the digital world if you are a retailer.

E-commerce sales as a share of total retail sales (Dotted line represents projection)What is noteworthy in that 15% is that Amazon makes up more than 40% of that number. Walmart makes up more than 7%. Between the two retail giants, they control half of all e-commerce retail sales. Amazon’s stock is around $3,000 per share.

Now, media usage is not retail sales. Our media mix is running around 60/40 for traditional media to digital media purchases for campaigns. So know that the 15% refers only to retail purchases and not how we get our entertainment, information or news. That is for a different post. This is how we buy products.

As you’ll see on the chart by eMarketer and CNBC, e-commerce is expected to accelerate growth and be at more than 23% by 2025. However, if you do a quick survey, I think you will find most people believe e-commerce is already at 23% and beyond. Yet in 2021, e-commerce makes up 15% of total retail sales. Let’s all keep the e-commerce exuberance in perspective. Plan for the future, but take care of the customers who are still enjoying personal sales.

I believe 1 in 6.5 people are surprised by this blog post. Is that “a lot” of people?

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

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Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.