Side Hustling? The Best & Worst States in the U.S. to Sell Online

best and worst states to sell online

There are more Americans working a side hustle today than at any point over the last 20 years.

In fact, 15% of Americans side hustle to have more disposable income.

Creating an online store is one of the easiest ways to start a side business and as U.S. citizens become increasingly entrepreneurial, Website Builder Expert wanted to lend a helping hand by giving insight into the best and worst states to sell online. In 2018, consumers spent a cool $517.36 billion with U.S. merchants so there’s more than enough to go round!

Website Builder Expert ranked all 50 states using a weighted ranking system.

Five data sets were used: Average Online Order Value, Number of Internet Users, Personal Consumption Expenditure, Broadband Coverage and Internet Penetration.
Each data set was ranked individually and all ranks for each state were added together to give a final score. The scores were then sorted from high to low to reveal the best and worst states.

10 Best States to Sell Online

Best States Rank
New York #1
California #2
New Jersey #3
Massachusetts #4
Washington #5
Maryland #6
Florida #7
Illinois #8
Virginia #9
Connecticut #10

10 Worst States to Sell Online

Worst States Rank
South Dakota #50
Mississippi #49
Nebraska #48
New Mexico #47
Montana #46
Oklahoma #45
West Virginia #44
Iowa #43
Wyoming #42
Kansas #41

New York & California Prove Most Lucrative for Online Stores

New Jersey, Massachusetts and Washington all ranked in the top five states, with the cash rich states of New York and California placing at the top.

Broadband Boosts New Jersey Into Third Place

Although New Jersey has a population less than half of New York and less than a quarter of California, its internet penetration rate is the second highest in the U.S. (86.75%).

This is due to the state’s incredibly high broadband coverage (99%) – the best in the whole of the US, alongside Connecticut. These two factors, along with the number of internet users (7.73m), personal consumption expenditure of the state ($449bn), and the average online order value ($107.54) propelled New Jersey to the 3rd best state to sell online.

Northern Nightmare: Avoid Selling To South Dakota & Montana

At the other end of the scale, South Dakota placed as the worst state to sell online. However, this is hardly surprising considering it is an expansive, sparsely populated state with one of the worst internet penetration rates in the U.S. (67.89%).

Despite placing 8th for the most spent per order online ($109.14), Montana came 5th for the worst state to sell online due to its poor rankings across the rest of the factors, in particular broadband coverage (69.20%), where it was ranked as the worst state.

Interesting Highlights

  • Alaskans spend the most per online order ($134.06)
  • New Hampshire has the highest internet penetration rate (88.91%)
  • New Jersey and Connecticut have the best broadband coverage (99.00%)
  • California has the largest personal consumption expenditure ($1.75bn)
  • California has the most internet users (32.86m)

Josh Frisby, who headed up this research for Website Builder Expert comments: “Our ranking of the most lucrative states to sell to online can help budding online entrepreneurs everywhere make the best decision about which states to target with their online stores.

With one in every seven Amercians starting a side hustle, online businesses are becoming an increasingly popular way to make extra cash alongside the 9-5, and why not? There are so many easy-to-use templates that getting online has become quicker and easier than ever before!”

Full Data Set

Check out our full data set to see where your state ranks!


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About Joshua Frisby

Joshua Frisby

I have first hand experience building and launching websites - it's surprisingly easier to do than you think. I am fascinated by the online world and having worked in the tech industry for several years I am here to share my experiences and some interesting insights with you.

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