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January 08, 2013

December 2012 ChannelAdvisor Same Store Sales (SSS) -- Holiday 2012

Note: This is a monthly feature published by ChannelAdvisor highlighting the Same Store Sales (SSS) across our wide range of thousands of retailers and billions in GMV.  Details on the SSS including methodology and schedule can be found in January's post.

Today we are releasing December 2012 data for Marketplaces (eBay/Amazon), Search and Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) along with supplemental data.  December is the last month of the critical holiday selling period.  This year we've been issuing more updates than ever before so we'll keep this post high level and focus on the December trends vs. "Holiday".

December 2012 SSS Results  

To give the data context, ComScore is out with a report saying they saw holiday sales come in at 14% vs. their predicted 16%.  They also specifically call out December as sluggish due to consumer confidence declines fueled by the fiscal cliff negative headlines.

  • Amazon - In December, Amazon slowed from November coming in at 29.8% growth rate.  Given e-commerce growth rates of 14%, this is still > 2X the growth rate of e-commerce, indicating that Amazon continues to enjoy sizable share gains.
  • eBay -  eBay also pulled back a bit in December, growing at 22.2% vs. the 27.4% growth rate we saw in November.  eBay details around fixed-price, auction and parts and accessories are below.
  • CSE - Comparison Shopping surged to 15.5% y/y, the largest gains we have seen in a long time.  Google Shopping drove the gains because the program was hitting on all cylinders: Google was showing GS for a lot of queries, retailers were both engaged and bidding, consumers were responding well to the ads (to the detriment of traditional search, unfortunately). Google Shopping details are below.
  • Search - Search was down 18% as it continued to suffer from Google Shopping / PLA click cannibalization.

SSS Chart 

The following chart details the SSS data for December 2011 through December 2012: (click to enlarge)

2012_sss_dec_overview.jpg

eBay Details

eBay's December 22.2% y/y SSS growth was in-line with  last year's 22.1% growth rate, which is actually pretty good and indicates that eBay's November performance wasn't just a pull forward of December.  To get a feel for what's driving the marketplace's performance, here are the interior datapoints for the month:

  • eBay auctions - Down 19% y/y - Auctions continued their decreases in December.  Same story here we've been seeing for the last couple of years.
  • eBay fixed-price - Up 29.7% y/y -The slow down in fixed-price SSS was the driver of the larger slow down for eBay given that the auctions and P+A components did not change much between Nov/Dec.  Fixed-price grew 38.5% in November.
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) - Up 24.2%, which is one of the slowest measurements for the year.  P+A tends to be seasonal, so we have historically seen some slow down in the winter months, especially as winter weather hits.  

Here are the YTD trends on these eBay internals.  The red line is fixed-price growth and you can see it really takes off in the last month:

2012_sss_dec_ebay_details

Supplemental data for Search

Here are the December Search internals:

2012_sss_dec_search_details

The search internal data shows that a decrease in clicks and orders (they are going to Google Shopping) is what is driving the dip in sales, not conversion rate or AOV.

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

In August, we introduced a new set of data around Google Shopping.  Here is the December Google Shopping supplemental data:

2012_sss_dec_gs_details

AOV and CR are both trending up nicely for the program as  you see a lot of dials moving 'to the right':

  • Advertisers - more advertisers are participating
  • Selection - Retailers are 'turning on' Google shopping for more selection as they get used to the program and feel comfortable with the economics
  • Google improvements - like any Google program, they appear to be constantly tweaking and optimizing as we go
  • The Amazon/eBay factor - if you've noticed, Amazon and eBay both are not aggressively participating in the program.  While this severely limits the selection, the benefit for non Amazon/eBay companies is they have a pretty major program where they don't have to compete with the 800-lb heavyweight advertisers.  This  has created a very different competitive environment for PLAs that is opening up the search market for the first time to smaller retailers.

Here's an example.  Search for 'refurbished iphone': (click to enlarge)

Refurb_iphone_bigpic

The yellow section is the top two adwords (very expensive) and the right column is more adwords (also expensive)  The row of five graphics below AdWords is Google Shopping.

 

You can see that the top two advertisers are ATT, Verizon, Amazon is 3 and eBay is 4 - that is a very expensive keyword:

Refurb_iphone_adwords

Then if you look at the Google Shopping results (click on 'shop on google') and you will find these retailers now getting very strong exposure at much lower rates than the adword:

Refurb_iphone_google_shopping

Conclusions 

This concludes our SSS posts for 2012.

This blog post was written by Scot Wingo, CEO, ChannelAdvisor where eBay is an investor.

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