Internet, TV & Mail-Order Retailers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 40,800 Internet, TV and mail-order retailers in the US sell merchandise through non-store channels, including catalogs, toll-free numbers, the Internet, and television (electronic shopping). Major product categories include drugs, health and beauty aids; computers and software; and clothing and accessories. Examples of Internet, TV and mail-order retailers include Internet auction sites, mail order book clubs, catalog/call center operations, Internet-only retailers, and home shopping networks.

Seasonal Demand

Similar to the traditional retail industry, Internet, TV, and mail-order retailers experience seasonal sales, with peaks during the winter holidays.

Reliance On Information Systems

System interruptions or problems with communications suppliers can result in outages or loss of critical data.

Industry size & Structure

The average Internet, TV, or mail-order retailer operates out of a single location, employs 10 workers, and generates $20 million annually.

    • The Internet, TV, and mail-order retail industry consists of 40,800 companies that employ over 420,000 workers and generate $837 billion annually.
    • The industry is concentrated at the top and fragmented at the bottom; the top 50 firms account for about 63% of industry sales.
    • Large companies include Amazon, eBay, Qurate (QVC and Home Shopping Network), Plow & Hearth, and L.L. Bean. Many large companies have international operations.
                                Industry Forecast
                                Internet, TV & Mail-Order Retailers Industry Growth
                                Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                Recent Developments

                                Nov 3, 2022 - Lower Sales Growth Rate Expected This Holiday Season
                                • Retail sales are expected to increase between 6% and 8% year over year from November 1 through December 31 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). The figures exclude spending at car dealers, gas stations, and restaurants. Sales increased 13.5% year over year in 2021 and totaled $889.3 billion. Consumers, especially lower-income shoppers, are grappling with higher prices this year on a range of necessities, but they are still spending, said the NRF. Sales volume—or amount of items purchased—is also expected to increase from last year. NRF noted that some holiday shopping may have started before November, as retailers have pushed holiday deals earlier each year, in part to boost overall spending.
                                • The total cost of e-commerce fraud to merchants will exceed $48 billion globally in 2023, up from just over $41 billion in 2022, according to Juniper Research. Growth in fraud will be accelerated by the increasing use of alternative payment methods, such as digital wallets and BNPL (Buy-Now-Pay-Later), which are creating new fraud risks. Online payment fraud includes losses across the sales of digital goods, physical goods, money transfer transactions and banking, as well as purchases like airline ticketing. Fraudster attacks can include phishing, business email compromises, and socially engineered fraud.
                                • E-commerce giant Amazon has scrapped plans for 42 new US facilities, according to MWPVL International, a consulting firm that tracks Amazon's real-estate purchases. Amazon's real estate empire exploded during the pandemic due to a surge in demand, but the company now has a surplus of space, Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said. Amazon doubled the size of its operations and workforce from mid-2021 to April 2022. Amazon also scaled back hiring in its retail division this year.
                                • The nearly 8% increase in postal costs and severe pandemic-related supply chain issues that created shortages of paper, ink, and resin for printers will force mail order retailers to get creative with the channel, according to industry experts. The US Postal Service reported “steep declines” in mail volume during the pandemic, and without last year’s election, marketing mail volume, including catalogs, would have decreased for the nine months ended June 30, 2021.
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