HME e-tailers running with the bulls

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Thursday, February 28, 2002

YARMOUTH, Maine - Holiday shoppers flocked to e-tailers of all colors in 2001, including HMEs, boosting traffic and sales.

"Holiday sales were very good and they continue to be," said Lisa Stein, president of HME e-tailer spinlife.com. "If you can measure overall consumer confidence base on our industry, it would bode well for the economy."

Stein declined to say how much Spinlife's sales jumped during the holidays, but buyers definitely seem more bullish than they did right after Sept. 11. People consider many HME items such as canes, walkers and scooters gift items and that "really played itself out this year."

Craig Hood, CEO of HME e-tailer allergromedical.com, attributed his company's spike in holiday sales to people not traveling as much following the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center

Hood estimated allergromedcial.com's sales jumped 30% in November and December.

While Hood also declined to provide specific sales figures, he said sales at allegromedical have increased steadily since the site debuted in 1997.

Still, he said: "We're not amazon.com. More people are embracing the Web, but I don't think anyone is making millions off selling DME online. It's still in its infancy."

According to a report released in January by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the average online shopper spent $392 during the 2001 holiday season, up 19% from $330 in 2000. In all, 29 million people bought gifts online during the 2001 holiday season, up 45% from 20 million in 2000.

At spinlife.com and allegro.com, consumers bought products from across the board. Stein reported selling a lot of mobility products, while Hood reported strong sales in urinary, incontinence woundcare and other disposable products. HME

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