- The Commerce Department says that retailer e-commerce revenues jumped 15.1% in the third quarter from the comparable quarter a year ago to reach $87.5 billion.
- Online sales are expected to grow twice as fast as the overall year-to-year growth forecast for the holidays, 3.7% to reach $105 billion.
- Home Depot, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Target, Wal-Mart and other big retailers have opened new warehouses to speed online order fulfillment in the past year.
Retailers are building up their online order fulfillment capabilities just in time for what looks to be the busiest e-commerce season in history. Many retailers are reporting that online sales are growing at a double-digit pace, and are opening new fulfillment centers and warehouses to meet the demand.
Home Depot—which reported this week that online sales grew 25% in the third quarter to reach 5.1% of its $21.8 billion take—recently opened a third online fulfillment center in Ohio, and now can deliver orders to 90% of customers in an Amazon-like two days. Wal-Mart, too, recently added 1 million square feet of dedicated fulfillment space to handle online orders in Atlanta, and says mobile orders have multiplied tenfold in three years.
Amazon Prime’s two-day delivery window is the new normal for companies with any substantial e-commerce presence. Macy’s, Target, and Nordstrom have each cited the timeline in opening new online-only fulfillment facilities in the past year; Macy’s opened its Tulsa warehouse in order to get 90 percent of packages to customers in the Western states in two days.
Most analysts are forecasting a good holiday season, and online sales represent the area of fastest growth. National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts digital sales will jump 6% to 8% to reach more than $100 billion during the holidays, while expecting overall growth of 3.7%. The Commerce Department says that online sales made up 7.4% of overall retail spending in the U.S. in the third quarter, or $87.5 billion.