Top 100 E-Tailers Saw Green in ’98

It was a good year to be in the e-commerce business — especially if you are really good at it.

The best of the best retail Web sites brought in revenue close to $1 billion in 1998, according to research by ActivMedia. In its report “Top 100 E-Commerce Web Sites,” ActivMedia reports that the upper half of the top 100 had revenues above $50 million annually, while the low end was $12 million.

The top 100 sites varied widely, covering industries including books, stocks, travel, computers, auctioneers, and entertainment. Among the surprises in the report, why consumers shop where they shop.

“A much-touted concern over download speed is rebuffed by these findings, and consumers flock to order based on site navigation, selection, and price,” said Harry Wolhandler, VP of Research at ActivMedia.

The high end of the top 100 list includes well-known Web-only sites, such as, Cyberian Outpost, and AutoWeb, as well as on- and offline operations such as Dell Computer, Ticketmaster, Gateway Computer, and Disney.

“Every one of the top 100 finds their sweet spot in the marketing mix, thereby establishing a unique online presence,” Wolhandler said. “They tend to stick to their niches, and often use multiple Web sites to address the needs of various markets, thereby personalizing information and selling more effectively.”

ActivMedia conducted telephone research cross-referenced against secondary sources for the report. It details the strategies used by e-tail’s top 100 for marketing, revenue, and site performance.

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