Apple Now Second Largest Online Retailer Behind Amazon

Apple has surpassed Staples to become the second largest online retailer in 2013 behind The iPhone and iPad maker's online sales increased by 24 percent up to US$18.3 billion.

Apple passes Staples to become second largest online retailerApple passes Staples to become second largest online retailer

Those numbers include Apple hardware sales as well as iTunes and App Store sales, putting it ahead of Wal-Mart, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, and Costco. Catching up to Amazon, however, isn't going to happen any time soon. Amazon's electronics sales came in at $67.8 billion, more than the combined total of the next ten online retailers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

All of the top retailers share a common trait: plenty of customers storing their credit card numbers online, and an easy process for completing purchases.

While Amazon's sales were four times Apple's, the giant online retailer is seeing the gap narrowing between it and competitors. Wal-Mart, for example, saw faster online growth in 2013 at 30 percent compared to Amazon's 20 percent.

Apple's sudden jump in the online retail game wasn't only from increasing sales. 2013 was also the first year Apple included hardware sales in its online purchase figures, where prior years were limited to music, video, app, and ebook sales.

The big losers in 2013 where the office supply retailers. Both Staples and Office Depot saw a drop in online sales, hinting that shoppers are more interested in smartphones, tablets and computers than Post-it notes and pens.