Comscore just came out with its 2009 Digital Year in Review. In it, Comscore found, amongst other interesting tidbits, that total retail e-commerce revenue (not including travel) was essentially flat for the year at $130B. This was only the second time ever that retail e-commerce did not grow 20% or more in a year. I did this nifty chart so you can see annual sales and growth rates since 2003.
To this I say: Who cares? Not you if you are an entrepreneur.
What is more intriguing is to look at the percentage e-commerce comprises of all retail sales. And, according to the US Census, this percentage continues to grow at a healthy clip. At nearly 4% of total retail sales, e-commerce has a long way to go until it has reached maturity.
I would argue that e-commerce, by and large, has been underfunded over the past few years in relation to the growth opportunity. If you look at the quarterly data from MoneyTree, you can see that venture capitalists were still recovering from the froth of Q4 1999 and Q1 2000 when 175 companies were funded to the tune of $2.3B. To put that number in perspective, all retail e-commerce startups raised a grand total of $1.3B from 2004 thru Q3 of this past year.
You can be sure with the recent successes of e-commerce stars like Gilt, Groupon, and services like Chegg that venture capitalists are back on the retail bandwagon.