business news in context, analysis with attitude reports that the final tallies for 2002 e-commerce showed strong increases in the sector, especially during the fourth quarter holiday season, when online sales reached $17.4 billion, a 40 percent increase over the same period a year earlier.

The first, second and third quarters were up 23 percent, 32 percent and 37 percent, respectively, with 2002 as a whole generating close to $48 billion in online sales, a 34 percent increase over 2001.

One of the most remarkable statistics generated by BizRate was the fact that women accounted for 60 percent of online sales volume. Five years ago, they represented just 39 percent -- suggesting that women are just dominating the e-shopping sector, but probably propelling it into being a mainstream channel.
KC's View:
Sure, e-commerce isn’t likely to take over the world like many predicted just a few short years ago. But it certainly is a factor, and a growing one.

As it becomes a mainstream alternative in other shopping venues, e-grocery is certain to follow. Slower, perhaps, because the logistical requirements are different and consumer desires more varied. But it’ll be a factor, and brick-and-mortar retailers will ignore the trend at the risk of being marginalized and outflanked.