ChannelAdvisor Same Store Sales (SSS) for July 2011

August 9, 2011

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Note: This is a monthly feature published by ChannelAdvisor highlighting the Same Store Sales (SSS) across our wide range of over 3000 retailers and ~$3.5b in GMV.  Details on the SSS including methodology and schedule can be found in this post.  If you are interested in last month’s (June 2011) results you can find them here.

Today we are releasing July data for Marketplaces (eBay/Amazon), Search and Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) along with supplemental data.

July 2011 results

July was an interesting kick-off for Q3 and the back half of 2011.  July is typically a slow month in the world of retail because your post dad’s and grads, but still pre- back to school, so there aren’t a lot of catalysts to drive purchases.  Also, the negative headlines around the debt limit and subsequent S+P downgrade that have hammered the markets as of this writing.  Surprisingly we didn’t see any signs of a material slow-down or or pull back in e-commerce land.  Comscore was also out today saying that they saw Q2 up 14% for e-commerce, which is in line with our data and they attribute it to an influx of online buyers – suggesting that the audience for oline buyers grew 16%.  We’ll have a mid-year e-commerce check with some ideas for holiday ChannelAdvisor webinar shortly and we also have a complete Holiday Boot Camp starting soon for retailers – you can get more details here.

Here are the highlights from July 2011’s SSS:

  • Amazon – Amazon came in at  52.1% y/y growth for July starting off Q3 with a steady 4-5X growth rate of that of general e-commerce.  Last year we saw Amazon grow 62% which shows that seasonally Amazon’s growth slows some in the summer months, but typically springs back in the Fall.
  • eBay –  eBay had a very strong July, coming in  up 17.3% up significantly from June’s 14.6%, turning in yet another record growth month since we’ve been reporting SSS data and sixth straight month of increasing SSS trends. More thoughts on eBay later in the report.
  • CSE – Comparison Shopping Engines finally saw some relief from their Panda pain coming in at a ‘less worse’ 16.3% decline, somewhat improved from June’s abysmal 18.2% decline.  CSEs have taken a number of actions as have clients to mitigate Panda and it’s good to see they appear to be taking hold.  One ominous cloud on the horizon is Google Product Search’s short-notice of complex changes they have announced that we fear will catch many retailers un-prepared.
  • Search – Search had a good showing in July, coming in at 16.8% down slightly from June’s 20.3% – mostly due to softness in conversions – not unusual for the summer months.  The interior numbers are provided below with some thoughts.

SSS Chart

The following chart details the SSS data for 2010 through July 2011: (click to enlarge)


Search Details

Search accelerated due to improvements in the conversion rate and nice y/y movement on AOV.  Search AOV is one of my ‘early recession indicators’ (canary in a coal mine) so it is good to see it is still in an upward y/y trajectory (my theory is that consumers cut off big purchases first which puts AOV under immediate pressure).  Clicks were down 3% which is due to summer seasonality.

This chart shows the search interior details:



eBay Observations

eBay continued to grow substantially in July and depending on where e-commerce lands, this could be the first Q in years that eBay’s marketplace grew faster than e-commerce.  Analyzing the data and talking to customers here are some of the underlying trends driving that acceleration over at eBay:

  • eBay Motors Parts and Accessories – the big engine that could –  We’ve talked about this category before and it just keeps on accelerating.  Last month we were very impressed with June’s 26.7% growth (2X ecommerce) and in July we were blown away by July’s 33.3% growth.
  • Format shift – We continued to see significant growth in the fixed-price format vs. auctions.  Fixed-price grew at a sturdy 22.3%, continuing to validate eBay’s decision to make fixed-price listings a priority.  As auctions  continue their decline, this FP growth rate will take over and is a very large part (with the underlying growth in P+A and other cats which are almost 100% FP) in eBay’s growth turn-around.
  • Large Merchants– Last week, we shared the news that eBay is bringing their popular Fashion Outlet from the UK/DE to the US.  That should help continue the trend of large merchants (top 500 retailers) embracing the eBay platform.  Amazon got a bit of a jump on eBay here in the 2007+ timeframe and eBay has come back with programs like the EFO that are designed to make eBay economical and easier to work with than they were historically.  Some of the top SSS ‘gainers’ in our data are companies in these programs.

We’ve disclaimed this in our header, but since we’re in this context, ChannelAdvisor tends to be heavier on US than eBay and we are heavier in large merchant and P+A than the standard eBay mix – these data are provided to give our customers and retailers a benchmarked view of eBay and other channels.

SeekingAlpha disclosure: I am long Google and Amazon.  eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.