Over at The Long Tail, Chris Anderson points to yet-another piece of proof that his thesis is correct.
His thesis, in case you’ve been under a rock, is that sales of niche goods are rising, and those of best-sellers are falling.
The chart, at right, shows that sales of "best seller" CDs are falling in Denmark, while sales of "niche" products are rising by an equivalent amount.
But is this a cause or effect?
It’s an effect.
Before the Internet it was impossible to put niche products before the public. Books that might sell in the 10s, or songs that might sell in the hundreds of copies, were simply not available.
Now they are.
This means stores like Wal-Mart and BestBuy have a large-and-growing problem. They only keep best-sellers in stock. Their sales are going down. Meanwhile an online market like Apple’s iTunes can keep everything in stock, and its sales go up.
But this is also a problem for many online retailers, like Amazon. Amazon can extend the number of products it stocks but only so far. It can’t get the whole tail.
The only way to profitably sell long-tail products, then is virtually.
The Internet created the Long Tail, and the Internet is its market. Its only market