Monday, June 18, 2007

Slowing Online Sales

Like you, the NYT headline caught my eye last week "Online Sales Lose Steam!" What could it mean? Recession? The resurrection of the brick and mortar? The mom and pop? Bookstores? Record stores? Dubious, I bookmarked it - but before I could issue a takedown, Slate.com beat me to it.

While Jack Shafer gives the story the rod from a journalistic perspective, I'll issue my one and only piling-on: which is my general dismay at the way both market researchers and consultancies (like Jupiter, the issuer of the data) and the NYT are able to take the data-rich markets and behaviors of the web and gin up sensationalist stories that don't really add up to much. Do I have lots of evidence of this happening? No, not right now. Does it irk me, nonetheless? Yes.

2 comments:

Lester said...

Also, note how far the prediction runs. In 2011, we'll be in the process of choosing which president succeeds the one we haven't chosen yet. Think how hard it is to predict that race today, even in terms of what the salient issues might me. And yet, businesses like Jupiter confidently assert what's going to happen in a far more complex market. This graph has its uses in the sense that it visually shows roughly what impact a constant rate of decline will have on sales, if it happens. But beyond that, it says nothing useful.

But still... it is a telling and important story that online sales growth is slowing. The NYT's real sin is to try and extend it to areas where slower sales don't really matter.

Ritik Dholakia said...

Well, I'd paint the sin, as it were, on both Jupiter and the NYT. In general, an odd cycle that exists between analysts/consultants and the press, cherry-picking modest amounts of data from a relatively data-rich environment and pushing it to its sensationalist extremes... While the hype serves certain interests (the third party observers - media and papers, as well as certain companies), I think it can bias the environment in which companies are trying to bring products to market...

And while a trend of slowing sales may be evident, the impact of that trend is less clear. Are we just reaching a natural saturation point? But that's a topic for another day...

Thanks for commenting!