The Top 500 newcomers to watch
April 21, 2015 11:21 PM
The 46 e-retailers new to Internet Retailer’s Top 500 rankings this year are anything but ordinary. Many stand out starkly from the competition, in fact, and that’s largely because they operate in niche, underserved segments of online retail, and they sell to consumers in myriad innovative ways.
It may be paying off, too, because they are outgrowing the competition. Collectively, this group of e-retailers grew online sales 24.1% to $6.49 billion in 2014 from $5.23 billion in 2013—far ahead of the 15.4% growth in overall e-commerce as measured by the U.S. Commerce Department and better than the 16.2% growth rate for the Top 500 overall.
Technically, QVC Inc.(ranked No. 15 in the new Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide) and Lands’ End (No. 38) are newcomers to the Top 500 this year, but they are excluded from the list of 46 newcomers for the purposes of this analysis because they are spinoffs from Liberty Interactive Corp. and Sears Holdings Corp., and are thus not really new online retailers in their own right.
Many of the newcomers to the Top 500 are newer to e-commerce than the bulk of the Top 500—on average, the newcomers have been selling online for nine years, while the Top 500 as a whole have been up and running on the web for 14 years.
Here are a few examples of fast-growing online merchants that made the Top 500 cutthis year for the first time:
- Shinola (No. 339), which grew online sales 199.0% last year, boasts the American-made mantra, as it sells handcrafted leather watches and high-end bicycles that staffers build in-house at a company facility in Detroit, Mich.
- Blue Apron Inc. (No. 318) grew 550.2% last year to an estimated $65.0 million. The merchant ships boxes of fresh food ingredients with recipe inserts weekly so that customers can cook chef-quality meals at home without having to go grocery shopping.
- NakedWines.com Inc. (No. 447), an online wine club that funds winemakers directly in return for wholesale prices for customers, doubled online sales last year to reach $34.0 million.
- Dollar Shave Club (No. 319), a monthly subscription service for razor blades and other men’s grooming products, skyrocketed into the Top 500 from the Second 500 last year by growing sales 242.1% to $65.0 million from $19.0 million.
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