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June 06, 2014

May 2014 ChannelAdvisor Same Store Sales (SSS) for eBay, Amazon, Search, CSE and other e-commerce channels

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 background, methodology, disclaimers and the 2014 schedule can be found in this post.  

Today we are releasing May 2014 SSS data for eBay, Amazon,Google Search and Google Shopping/PLA.  ComScore recently reported that US e-commerce grew at 11.8% y/y for the desktop which translates to 13.1% y/y with mobile included so that is the baseline for 2014 growth.  

This month we have three new additions -two of them are one-time datapoints and one we will continue going forward.

  1. Other 3PM (Ongoing) - In the macro section we are now including 'Other 3PMs' - this stands for non eBay and Amazon third party marketplaces (3PM).  At ChannelAdvisor we support ~37 global marketplaces. While eBay and Amazon are the biggest domestic players, other marketplaces we we have announced include BestBuy, Sears, La Radoute, Newegg, OneStopPlus, Play.com (UK), Buy.com/Rakuten Shopping, Shop.com, Tesco (UK), Trade Me (NZ) and several others that are now generating enough y/y GMV now as a group that we are going to start including them going forward.  They are not in the chart because this is the first month, but the summary data is included.  We recently announced support for MercadoLibre and Alibaba's Tmall Global - those will have to annualize before we include them in our data.
  2. Golf (one time)- In late May, when Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) announced their Q1 results, they talked about pressure in their golf business, with some lines of business down as much as 10%.  At ChannelAdvisor we have a lot of golf customers and we had many requests from them to do a bit of a deeper dive on this category.  Were we seeing the same headwinds that DKS mentioned?  This data is included in the May results section.
  3. eBay Breach/Panda (one time) - Finally, eBay had two unusual events happen in May.  First, on May 21 eBay announced they were dealing with a data breach from hackers.  Then on May 22 it was reported that Google's Panda 4.0 release caused anywhere from 40-80% of eBay's pages to be de-indexed.  (There are lots of theories on this, the prevailing theory is this was a 'manual action' from Google due to eBay's SEO strategies pushing the envelope). In any case, on May 21/22 we had two serious changes.   We have been flooded with questions and comments from customers about both topics.  How much did this impact eBay?  My traffic is down as much as 50%, what should I do, etc.

For ~13yrs now we have been strong advocates for online sellers/retailers of all sizes to have a diversified portfolio of e- commerce channels.  Events like these, though unfortunate, hopefully help folks realize that if they have all of their eggs in one basket, they have material risk to their business.  The good news is there have never been more e-commerce channel options than there are today and as you will see in the data, even if one channel comes under pressure, there are always areas of growth in our industry that is growing 15%.  It's never been more important to make sure you have balanced your risk AND put your business in the fastest growing channels so you don't miss opportunities.

Now that we have introduced these three new datapoints, let's dig into the results from May, the middle month of Q2:

May 2014 SSS Results 

  • Amazon - Amazon's May SSS came in at 28.1%, an increase compared to April's 27% .  Amazon plans to release a new device (smartphone is leading thought) in mid-June which we will be watching closely.
  • eBay -  eBay's May came in at 11.5% down from April's 14%. We have eBay details further down in the report that show what is going on with this marketplace.
  • Other 3PM - As mentioned in the intro, we are excited to expand our regular same-store-sales  reports  starting this month to include 'other 3PMs' - those marketplaces grew 78.3% y/y on a same-store-sales basis.  While these channels are not as big as the eBay and Amazon, our customers are seeing  strong growth in these channels.
  • CSE - Comparison Shopping Engines came in at .4% for May up from April's down 9% (driven by softness in the non PLA engines).
  • Search - Search came in at 11.7% for May, an increase from April's 4.3% y/y growth.  Later in the report we have more search details.

Based on the questions we received from customers in the golf category, we ran a special report this month to track that category across our marketplace channels.  What we did here is create a basket of ~100 golf sellers and compare their SSS sales for 2014.  Here is the data in table and chart format:

May_14_sss_golf_trends

May_14_sss_golf_chart

 

What we see here is a trend that reflects what DKS reported, but instead of in Q1, more Q2 deceleration.  Q1 was lumpy but came in around 10% y/y growth for both eBay and Amazon.  Here in Q2, we see that golf is at best flat (eBay) and at worst down single digits y/y in April/May for Amazon.   I'm not a golfer (unless you count Tiger Woods on Xbox), so I polled some of our customers and the general feedback I received was in three buckets:

  • There haven't been any big releases (e.g. new club technologies from Nike, Titleist, TaylorMade, etc.) to drive the industry
  • Tiger Woods not being active in the Masters was a negative for the industry
  • Weather in the midwest and NE has dampened Q1 results

Folks are optimistic that the US Open (here in NC this year FYI!) will help Q2 as that is in mid-June.  One negative, Tiger announced he will not be participating.

We'll report on Golf next month - let us know if you like this kind of category-specific spotlight and we will consider making it a regular feature.

SSS Chart 

The following chart details the SSS data for May 2013 through May 2014: (click to enlarge)

  May_14_sss_total_chart

  (note that 'other 3PMs' are not on the chart this month, but will begin next month when we have > 1 data point)

eBay Details

eBay's SSS for May was 11.5%.  To get a feel for what is driving the marketplace's performance, here are the interior data points for the month:

  • eBay auctions - Down 11.1% y/y. 
  • eBay fixed-price - Up 13% y/y - While a decrease from April's 18.1%, this is still a good showing considering e-commerce is growing at ~15%.
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) - P+A  was down slightly in May coming in at  15.2% compared to March's 15.6%.  While this was a slight decrease, it is still relatively strong when you look at e-commerce growth.

 Here are the TTM (trailing twelve month) trends on these eBay internals.  (click to enlarge)

    May_14_sss_ebay_details

As mentioned in the intro, we also did an analysis to see if we could measure any impact on eBay's SSS growth around the time of the breach and Panda hitting (May 22).  This table splits May into before breach (May 1-21) and after breach (May 22-31). 

May_14_sss_breach_panda

To have a 'control' in the analysis, we did the same segmentation on Amazon.  What you see is Amazon grew 3.3% slower in the 'after breach' period.  When you start to look at these shorter periods of time, there are many reasons around these types of small movements  such as the days of the week included in the past/current period, weather trends and other externalities.   So if we think of Amazon difference as the 'norm' and then look at the eBay components:

  • eBay was down 5.4% or 2.1% more severe than the 'norm'
  • Inside of eBay you see that FP and P+A were down 6.2% and 7.1%, but about double of the control
  • Counter to the above, Auctions were up slightly.  Two thoughts here: 1. Auctions are very small and ChannelAdvisor is under-indexed compared to eBay. 2. Auctions have 7-day lives, so historically have taken 7-10 days to show trends that we see in FP/P+A, so there is a bit of lag effect here.

Our conclusion is that there does to seem to be an impact on the eBay business from Panda/breach.  It's impossible to know if it was Panda or breach related or how long it will last.  The good news is that even though there was a hit eBay still grew ~8%.  In June we'll have a complete month to see the impact and will obviously be following this closely.

Supplemental data for Search

Here are the May Search internals: (click to enlarge)

May_14_sss_search

  

Note: these are all y/y SSS comparisons (May 2014 vs. May 2013).

Search SSS increased 11.7% for May and you can see it was primarily driven by a bump in clicks and conversion rates which yielded more orders.  AOV was under a bit of pressure, but the tick up in CR more than made up for that, causing retailers to bid up CPC's 4%. 

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

In September 2012, we introduced a new set of data around Google Shopping.  Here is the May Google Shopping/Product Listing Ad supplemental data:

  May_14_google_shopping

 

Overall, Google Shopping came in at 21.4% y/y increase on a SSS.   This program continues to age and you can see that while the conversion rates continue to grow nicely (up 29% y/y) the AOV has come down ~20%.  This a headwind on the program and shows that more merchants are pouring into the program and increasing selection.

 

Conclusions 

We hope you enjoyed our report this month and some of the new data points we provided.  Hopefully they help you think about creative ways to grow your e-commerce business.  Our next SSS post will be in July when we look at the June 2014 data to see how the end of the second quarter performed for the top e-commerce channels.

This blog post was written by Scot Wingo, CEO, ChannelAdvisor.

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