by Mike Masnick

In Case You Didn't Know: Internet Sales Can't Grow At Ridiculous Rates Forever

from the seriously? dept

The NY Times wants to make a big deal out of the fact that e-commerce growth rates may be slowing, but that hardly seems like much of a story. Note that they're not saying internet growth is disappearing -- just that the rate of growth is slowing. That's to be expected of any market once it goes mainstream, because you simply cannot maintain the same growth rate on such a large base. You hit diminishing returns. Of course, that's a concept that's been around for ages, so it hardly seems newsworthy to suggest that growth rates may be starting to slow -- even as tremendous growth remains. But, these days, it's fun for the press to poke at the internet. However, if the best they can do is to say that growth rates are hitting their expected diminishing returns, it hardly seems like a real problem. Of course, that didn't stop the headline writer from suggesting this was a sign that people were tiring of buying on the internet -- even if the data doesn't support that conclusion at all.

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  1. identicon
    Swag Valance, 18 Jun 2007 @ 10:20am

    OMG -- where did all the money go!

    This just in off the newswire...

    The invention of online shopping did not, I repeat, did not apparently create a global surplus of disposable income for people to buy more crap online than they would ever buy offline. This shocking revelation has many online retailers shaking their heads, challenging their assumptions about Internet retailing.

    CEOs across the Internet have reacted to this news with stunned disbelief. Said CEO, Wink Martins, "I thought because we built a Web site, suddenly billions of new dollars would flow into the retail economy that previously did not exist! How could we know that building a Web site didn't mean that consumers wouldn't just suddenly have more cash to spend than they previously had. We feel robbed."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    GoblinJuice, 18 Jun 2007 @ 10:26am

    Re: OMG -- where did all the money go!

    It's made it easier for us to piss away whatever disposable income we have, tho! =)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Absolutely..., 18 Jun 2007 @ 10:38am

    I mean, seriously..

    Afterwards, Wink Martins, through a spokesperson with a thick manila folder marked "LAW STUFF 4 JUDGE", announced they would be forming a coalition of Internet companies with the express purpose of filing lawsuits against users who illegally frequent traditional stores, to the detriment of online retailers. "The days of users flocking to and fro in these 'malls' and 'shopping centers' is over - our methods will pave the way for all online retailers to utilize DSM - Digital Sales Management - which will allow any online retailer to track their users offline shopping habits and report them. We will soon have a website up for the express purpose of allowing our users to avoid costly lawsuits and simply provide us with their employer's account information - they won't even have to sign their paychecks over, they'll just come to us!" Clapping with glee, horns suddenly grew from his head and his feet turned into cloven hooves before his eyes went wide and he leapt into a nearby limo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Witty Nickname, 18 Jun 2007 @ 10:49am


    This is typical NY Times garbage. Next time you see a report that the President's budget includes cuts that help feed children and cure AIDS look for yourself at the numbers - the amount donated is growing - it is the RATE of growth that is slowing (he only gave a 2.5% increase instead of 2.75%)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Rational Beaver, 18 Jun 2007 @ 11:04am

    The only semi-legit reason that this could be called news is that folks like eMarketer are constantly trumpeting the latest online retail growth numbers and making retarded trend graphs that always assume that the current growth rates will last forever (or at least through 2010).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 18 Jun 2007 @ 11:28am

    Re: I mean, seriously..

    We must bring an end to these "shopping centers" and "malls" once and for all. Because if you support malls and shopping centers then you support terrorism and that makes you an enemy of America, an enemy of democracy, and an enemy of God.

    Think of the children!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Overcast, 18 Jun 2007 @ 11:37am

    I was laughing at the 'Sun' on the tabloid shelf at the store this weekend. Something about the end of the world...

    Then I commented to the wife... I said - in all seriousness, I wonder if more in there is actually true than on Network News and the Newspapers.

    It kinda strikes me - I can actually question that now. i'm not talking the 'shock' stories but all the other blah, blah.. heck, I'm curious what the REAL ratio is - not just what they say is true.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Joe Smith, 18 Jun 2007 @ 12:15pm

    relative vs. absolute

    They are talking about relative growth. If you are coming off a low base you can have very large relative growth rates. Even as the relative growth rates slow down (percentage increase year over year), the absolute growth rate (absolute increase in dollars spent year over year can hold steady or increase).

    We get into this problem with comments on China where, for example, someone will say: the economy is slowing down because last year it grew 10% and this year it will only grow 9% forgetting that the 9% growth is compounded with the earlier 10% and represents about the same absolute dollar increase ( since .09 * 1.10 is very close to 0.1)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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