This morning, Philip Elmer-Dewitt of Fortune.com writes that Apple has attained the number two spot in online retail. According to sales data, Apple has now passed Staples and Walmart. This achievement is partly due to an accounting change that now includes hardware sales along with iTunes and App Store revenue.
Part of Apple's 24% increase last year (to $18.3 billion) is due to an accounting change: For the first time, Apple threw online hardware sales into the mix alongside iTunes and App Store sales.
Amazon's retail offerings, of course, are considerably broader than Apple's. But as Asymco's Horace Dediu pointed out in a chart posted on Twitter last week, Apple has the edge in terms of online accounts. Those could come in handy if Apple, as rumored, is working on a new, iOS-based mobile payment service.
Even setting aside the new accounting change, the rise in Apple's revenues started several years ago, beginning its noticeable acceleration in 2010. You can see the respective retailer stories in the above chart sourced from the Wall Street Journal.
Sales results image courtesy of the Wall Street Journal