Study: 1998 Online Computer Sales Exceed $1B

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Online retailers of computer products surpassed $1 billion in sales in 1998, despite the generally lower prices of personal computers, according to a retailer survey by hi-tech publishing company CMP Media Inc., Manhasset, NY.


The sales tally includes revenue at online-only retailers such as Cyberian Outpost Inc., Kent, CT, as well as established computer merchants such as CDW Computer Centers Inc., Buffalo Grove, IL, that bring in only part of their revenue through Web sales.


Many computer resellers that already operated brick-and-mortar stores built up online channels in the past two years in an attempt to remain competitive with the growing number of companies selling exclusively through the Web. Meanwhile, several online-only resellers more aggressively promoted themselves through general advertising outside of the Internet in an effort to steer more consumers to their sites.


Of the top 10 marketers of computer products in 1998, five sell their wares exclusively through the Web, according to CMP's data, which the company reported in its Computer Retail Week publication.


Micro Warehouse Inc. led all online retailers with $184.8 million in sales, though the Internet accounted for only 8 percent of the company's revenue. Onsale Inc., which markets exclusively through its site at www.onsale.com, was second with 1998 revenue of $168 million. Rounding out the top 10 were Creative Computers Inc., Buy.com Inc., CDW Computer, Egghead.com Inc., NECX, Cyberian Outpost, Insight Enterprises Inc. and Multiple Zones International Inc.
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