Consumables Market Takes Larger Share of E-Commerce

Total online retail sales during 1999 are expected to reach $66 billion, according to ActivMedia Research, and the buying of consumable products will lead the way into the next century.


Projected Total Web Revenues
For Consumer Products

(Billions US)
1999 2000
Health/beauty 0.8 1.9
Healthcare/medical 1.1 2.6
Pet supplies 0.3 0.8
Groceries/household 0.9 2.2
Gourmet 0.7 1.6
Total consumable sales 3.8 9.1
Total online retail sales 66.0 160.00
Source: ActivMedia Research, LLC

ActivMedia’s report “Consumable Products: Building Customer Loyalty Online” found that 40 percent of the buyers who purchase consumable products online account for 56 percent of online purchasing power and account for $3.8 billion in online revenue.

Health & Beauty products are leading the way among consumable products, according to the report. The grocery market has been inhibited by real-world delivery systems and has only begun to see its potential, the report found.

Two in five online buyers shop for consumables online, and this group represents a select group of mature online shoppers who purchase much more than the basic books, music, or gifts online. In the past year, they purchased health and beauty, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, groceries and household supplies, gourmet items, and pet supplies online.

In terms of dollars spent, consumables buyers spend a majority (56 percent) of online purchase dollars. This group is more likely than average to shop for a variety of personal and business items from several sectors, including clothing, home and garden, sporting goods, jewelry, office supplies, and manufacturing supplies.

“Interestingly, while health and beauty buyers spend the most overall of the consumables buyers, variations from group to group suggest common threads between markets that lead to cross-selling and promotion opportunities,” said ActivMedia’s Anne Fischer Lent. “For example, pet supply buyers tend to spend a higher dollar amount on jewelry compared to others within the consumables group, and gourmet buyers spend more on travel packages than others within the group.

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