How many small online business were there in the US in 2017?
There is no evidence that the number of small online businesses in the US is available in the public domain. The US Small Business Association (SBA) does not include any data specific to the number of online businesses. One plausible answer to the lack of data specific to online businesses is the substantial increase in freelancers. The increase in freelancers is changing the traditional composition of small businesses in the US and makes compiling the data specific to 'online' businesses more convoluted. There is a subset of data for online businesses, but it does not differentiate between small, medium or large businesses in the industry. The latest information available for US based e-commerce businesses is from 2013 and shows there were 102,728 e-commerce businesses that generated at least $12,000 per year in revenue.
e-commerce & freelancers
According to ReferralCandy, there were 102,728 e-commerce retailers in the US in 2013 that generated at least $12,000 per year in revenue. This represents a 13.5 percent increase over 2012, which reported 90,501 online retailers that generating the same minimum amount of revenue. While estimating the number of online e-commerce sites exist is a daunting task, Dandy Loop estimates there were approximately 650,000 e-commerce sites globally in 2014 that are selling more than $1,000 US annually. A deep dive of the calculation and difficulty of calculating online stores can be found here.
The composition of the online small business in the US is changing rapidly. From approximately 15.4 million to over an estimated 57.3 million in 2017, freelancers are becoming significantly more common in the workforce. These freelancers are now part of the small business community in the US. Sixty three percent of freelancers state it is important to have a diversified portfolio of clients rather than just one employer.
Founded in 2003, Squarespace now hosts over 1 million customers. According to their website, "Squarespace powers millions of websites across hundreds of industries..." This indicates that some users have multiple sites.
Shopify has geared itself towards the entrepreneurial market to help remove barriers to opening, growing, and operating an eCommerce site. As of 2017, Shopify had over 500,000 businesses. The platform has seen an "average growth rate of 74%" since 2012.
Per the MailChip Annual Report, there were "85,815 eCommerce stores connected to MailChimp accounts." Additionally, they report having 3,936,108 users.
Specific industry statistics for small online businesses in the US are not available due to two predominate factors: the rapidly changing composition of the small business workforce and the traditional small business classifications used by the Small Business Administration.