Top 10 e-commerce stories of 2010

Faith Merino · December 28, 2010 · Short URL:

After the sagging sales of 2009, 2010 brought online retailers something to smile about

After the dismal sales of 2009, 2010 has been a year of growth and optimism for online retailers.  The following charts the top ten newsworthy moments in e-commerce over the last year.

1. ComScore: Online spending in Q1 up 10% (May)

Following four consecutive quarters of decline in online spending, comScore reported the first significant growth in e-commerce at the end of the first quarter.  Online spending rose 10% in the first-quarter 2010, following 3% decline in Q4 2008, 0% growth in Q1 2009, 1% decline in Q2 2009, and 2% decline in Q3 2009.  Online spending has continued to increase throughout 2010, and the third-quarter 2010 marked the fourth consecutive quarter of growth.

2. Amazon acquires Woot (June)

Amazon bought daily deals site Woot in June for a rumored $110 million in cash, though the terms of the deal were never officially disclosed.  Woot, a daily deals site with snarky Groupon-esque humor,  specializes in electronics and has branched out to offer daily deals in other categories, such as children’s items, wine, and T-shirts.

3.. Etsy raises $20M, triples valuation (August)

Etsy, the site where shoppers can buy handmade crafts and artwork raised, $20 million in a series E round led by Index Ventures, bringing the company's total funds raised to $52 million and tripling its valuation to $300 million.  Founded in 2005, Etsy is on track to bring in $400 million in total sales through its site, though the company only takes a 3.5% cut from each sale, so Etsy is looking at $30-50 million in company earnings. 

4. Groupon partners with eBay (October)

In October, the online auction site eBay partnered with collective buying site Groupon to bring local Groupon deals to eBay shoppers using geo-location.  Shoppers who buy a Groupon deal through eBay have the opportunity to earn 5% back in eBay Bucks. The partnership came after much speculation about a possible acquisition. 

5. Amazon buys Quidsi for $545 Million (November)

Amazon bought Quidsi, the parent company, in November for $545 million following a competitive battle over the new-parent consumer demographic. Repeatedly rebuffed in its attempts to acquire the company, Amazon began offering a number of's core items (like diapers) for lower prices than was offering, essentially forcing the company into sales talks. 

6. Online spending on Cyber Monday exceeds $1 billion (November)

This year's Cyber Monday saw record high online spending, reaching $1.028 billion and marking the heaviest single day of online spending in history.  The totals represent a 16% increase over last year's $887 million and marked the first time that online sales broke the $1 billion mark in a single day.

7. Ebay buys for rumored $75 million (December)

In early December, founder and CEO Jack Abraham tweeted that had officially joined the eBay family.  The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but sources close to the deal pegged it at $75 million. was later incorporated with eBay's RedLaser app, which allows mobile users to scan a bar code and compare prices for products online.

8. Groupon turns down Google's $6 billion buyout offer

The blogosphere was abuzz with anticipation over rumors that Google had made an offer of $6 billion to Groupon, but in mid-December, Groupon reportedly declined the offer. Many are now questioning how far the company can really take its platform. 

9. Amazon invests $175 million in LivingSocial (December)

Amid wildfire rumors that Google was on the verge of acquiring Groupon, Amazon staked its own claim in the collective buying space by rallying its troops behind Groupon competitor LivingSocial. Amazon invested $175 million in the daily deals site, which raised an additional $8 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners. The latest round of financing brings LivingSocial's total funds raised to $232 million. The company claims to be booking over $1 million per day in revenues and plans to see over $500 million in revenues in 2011.

10. Kindle 3 is Amazon's best-selling item of all time

On Monday, Amazon announced that its third generation Kindle is the highest selling product of all time, even eclipsing sales of the last Harry Potter book (of which the company sold 2.5 million copies). The announcement comes amid rumors that Amazon is on track to sell eight million Kindles in 2010. The company also added that Cyber Monday (Nov 29) saw record sales as consumers bought 158 items per second.

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