ChannelAdvisor Same Store Sales (SSS) for November 2011 PLUS Holiday Update

December 2, 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 (October 2011) results you can find them here.

Today we are releasing November data for Marketplaces (eBay/Amazon), Search and Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE).  Since we’ve had quite a bit of commentary out recently due to our copious Holiday 2011 coverage, the commentary on November SSS is reduced.

November 2011 results

November is the heart of the Holiday period.  While only essentially 7 of the ~30 day holiday period happen in November, in recent years they have turned out to be the biggest days.  So ultimately November gives us our best read on the scale of the Holiday and December tells us if it moved up or sustained.

Here are the highlights from November 2011’s SSS:

  • Overall – Overall November came in at up 25.8% – an impressive showing given that e-commerce has been growing in the mid-teens for most of 2011.  We’re optimistic this gain will hold through December and we are looking at a robust Holiday 11, but a bear case could be made that November’s surge could be just a move up of the Holiday.
  • Amazon – Amazon came in at 60.6% continuing their share-gains in e-commerce.  This is down from October and last year’s > 80% growth rates.  As we’ve mentioned previously what we think is going on is that Amazon is being more competitive and deeper at the product level and that’s slowing 3P slightly.
  • eBay –  eBay’s growth accelerated nicely November, coming in at 18%.  While this lags the e-commerce rate and indicates share-loss, It’s the fastest growth we’ve seen from eBay all year and > 2X last year’s growth rate in November of 8.1%.  From a Wall St. perspective, eBay could easily surpass low expectations on GMV growth based on what we are seeing.  eBay does tend to be back-end loaded during the holiday, so we’ll see how December shakes out.
  • CSE – Comparison Shopping Engines finally had their first positive month of the year, coming in at up 3%.  Last year CSEs were up 10.1%, so they continue to face some Panda-induced headwinds.
  • Search – Search had a strong November at 38.1%, showing strong results throughout November.

SSS Chart

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


eBay Observations

As previously mentioned, eBay moved all buyers to the cart in late October.  That seems to have gone smoothly as you can tell from the SSS data. We haven’t seen any evidence that the cart is behind the lift.  I tend to think that until they have Amazon-like recommendations and up-sells the cart will be neutral to slightly negative impact.

Here are a couple of interior datapoints that maybe of interest.

  • eBay Motors Parts and Accessories – November was surprisingly strong for eBay’s Parts+Accessories category – coming in up 34.8%.  Usually  this category take a breather in Q4/Q1.  This year’s unseasonably warm weather must be playing a roll in the November surprise.
  • Format details – For November, Auctions were down 21.3%, and fixed-price was up 27.5%.  Our normal disclaimer that ChannelAdvisor is heavier weighted towards FP than eBay generally applies here.  That being said, as Auctions trend to 0, you should see eBay’s growth rate tick up as the FP format is growing faster than e-commerce.  You could argue that this trend alone will guarantee eBay a solid 2012 just from mix-changes.
  • Deal of the Day – Results on DoD have been somewhat mixed.  Compelling electronics deals have seen thousands of items sell out in hours.  Less compelling deals have languished.

eBay has fully launched their Q4  TV campaign.  Some of the SSS lift could be due to the efficacy of the TV ads, we are unable to know what exactly is driving the lift.  Most likely it is a culmination of many things and not just the TV campaign.

Search Details and Observations

Here are the search details for November 2011:
Note that CPC was down y/y and conversions were way up – this is primarily due to the bulk of our customers this year being in the Product Listing Ads (PLA) system whereas last year it was in limited beta.  This program is nirvana for retailers as it drives higher conversions at lower CPCs.
Also note that AOV this year is essentially identical to last year which indicates that consumers continue to buy items in the same price-range.  Historically in 2008 for example during the Great Recession, we saw this drop precipitously as consumers significantly pulled back.
Holiday 2011 Update
Today we are also releasing some more holiday data.  Our CyberFive details (ThanksGiving->CyberMonday) are available here if you did not see them.
In addition to November’s SSS, and the CyberFive we are releasing SSS for two other periods:
  1. CyberWeek – some call the week of CyberMonday CyberWeek.
  2. Holiday YTD – Here we track from the official kick-off of Holiday (Thanksgiving) to today.
This summary table puts al five periods in one chart for easy comparison.  All of these are through 11/30 (inclusive).

2011_holiday_tracker_dec_2So far what all the data tells is us that we are trending to a ~20% y/y Holiday 2011 online which is great news and ahead of our own 17% forecast and Comscore’s 17% forecast.  Again, the bear case is that we’ll see a steep drop off in December.  We’ll be reporting throughout December and updating the key “Holiday YTD” datapoints.

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