According to analysts who cover the sector, the COVID-19 pandemic did help some retailers speed up their online market share growth as much as three years ahead of schedule.
A new report from eMarketer anticipated that the top 15 retailers — including Walmart, Etsy, Chewy and Amazon — will account for 72.3% of total e-commerce sales in the U.S. this year.
The report pegs eight retailers among the 15 who are expected to outpace the annual growth rate of 17.9% this year, as predicted by the National Retail Federation.
Etsy tops the list with anticipated online sales growth at 26.9%. Since 2017, Etsy has expanded its niche marketplace business into a house of brands by acquiring DaWanda, a German marketplace for gifts and handmade goods, in 2018 for $35 million. Reverb, a marketplace for new, used and vintage musical instruments, was acquired in 2019 for $275 million. This year, Etsy acquired Depop, a resale fashion marketplace catered to Generation Z shoppers (ages 6 to 24 years). That deal cost Etsy $1.65 billion.
Walmart.com is expected to grow its sales by 26.4% this year, which is slightly higher than the 24.9% growth rate expected by Amazon. Walmart continues to add more items to its online marketplace and recently brought on tween retailer brand Justice as a supplier.
Walmart also joined forces with Gap for a new line of home accessories and linens under a “Gap Home” licensing agreement. At Walmart’s recent Open Call, the retailer also told 900 entrepreneurs pitching products they too were accepted to the marketplace as sellers. Walmart said it is also hoping its Walmart+ members will shop more online, given the free delivery option.
The report indicates that while most of the top 15 retailers saw online sales jump amid the pandemic, only a few — namely Etsy, Amazon and Costco — will continue to see sales grow at higher levels in the future.
Chewy, the online pet goods retailer owned by PetSmart, was the third fastest-growing this year at 25%. According to the American Pet Products Association, Chewy’s sales jumped 47% amid the pandemic as pet ownership increased by 11.38 million households. Analysts at Neuberger Berman said families that start out buying pet products online would likely continue to do so in the future, which is a plus for Chewy.
The growth has prompted the company to expand its fulfillment operations with a new regional facility in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. The facility will be Chewy’s 14th U.S. e-commerce fulfillment center. The fulfillment center will create 1,200 jobs and is expected to open in the fall of 2022.
Amazon, the granddaddy of e-commerce sites, is poised to see online sales grow by 24.9% this year. While the company lost some food share amid the pandemic, analysts said Amazon continues to set the bar high for other retailers to follow. Costco came on the scene much later than others with e-commerce but quickly made up ground amid the pandemic. The wholesale club giant is expected to see online sales rise 21.7% this year, according to eMarketer.
The best of the rest of the-marketer list included Apple at No. 6, with sales growth projections of 19.7% this year. Wayfair is expected to see online sales growth of 19.4% and Home Depot is poised to have online sales rise 18% in 2021.
Grocery giant Kroger comes in at No. 9 with an online sales bump of 14.1%, while Macy’s and Target are expected to see online sales rise 13% and 12.5%, respectively, this year. Lowe’s is expected to see online sales rise 12.1% this year as the home remodel and building boom continues.