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Online retail sales haven’t grown as fast as you may think, report says

But a new report from NetChoice, a research and advocacy organization supported by groups like Google, Amazon, Etsy and Facebook, shows that online retail only grew by 6.7% in 2021. While this was the largest annual gain in over a decade, it is clear online sales are still far from overpowering in-person retail.

In fact, in the last few years, online sales have become a complement to both small and large businesses, creating dynamism and competition in the retail industry that is far from being dominated by monopoly. The NetChoice report finds that the nation’s top five retailers (combined physical and online sales) only account for about 25% of total retail sales each year.

Despite the rise in popularity of online shopping, physical retail locations still play an important role for many industries. In-person sales make up 85% percent of all retail and a survey included in the NetChoice report found that 77% of consumers feel it is somewhat important that a retailer offers a physical location.