The May results are in and here is where eBay and Amazon came out with some commentary and analysis:
- eBay – eBay declined in May to -4% y/y vs. April which was flat at 0%. An analysis of the data reveals that the late March changes eBay made are having a negative impact on our customers. Customers in the CSA (Clothing/Shoes/Accessories or newly minted ‘fashion’) category were very negatively impacted. Our research shows that the search results for CSA and many other ‘soft goods’ categories like luggage appear to have reverted to a 80% auction, 20% fixed price mix. This doesn’t make any sense to us because it seems totally misaligned with eBay’s goal of a) driving fixed price sales, b) improving the fashion buying experience, c) driving adoption of features like variation style listings and d) a good buyer experience at all. You can see this by running a general search for something like ‘nike shoes’ – quickly eyeball the results and you will find 40/50 are auction and 10/50 are fixed price. eBay tells us the mix hasn’t changed, but our customers tell us otherwise – sound off in comments if you have a view on this.
- Amazon – Amazon declined in May to 67% from 72% in April. Our analysis of this trend leads us to believe that this was largely driven by our software cycles and not any fundamental change at Amazon. 14 months ago we released our Amazon 2.0 software which dramatically accelerated the growth of many of our Amazon customers AND our Amazon customer acquisition rates nearly doubled. Thus we have a hard comp of existing customers ramping in May 09 and a bunch of new customers ramping in May 09.
ChannelAdvisor Same Store Sales (SSS) are reported as a benchmark data point for ChannelAdvisor’s internet retailer customers. The SSS data is not a position or forecast of any e-commerce activity, but the real transactional data captured by ChannelAdvisor across over 3000 retailers and $3b of Gross Merchandise Value (GMV). There are many reasons this data is not a proxy for overall e-commerce activity including, but not limited to:
- Customer variance – ChannelAdvisor’s customers may not be representative of the overall customer mix of any individual channel. For example, on eBay, our customers are skewed towards the largest eBay customer set, not the average.
- Category variance – ChannelAdvisor is over-indexed in some categories (electronics, sporting goods and auto parts) and under-indexed in others (collectibles, BMV/media, etc.) For example, on Amazon, ChannelAdvisor has very few media customers so we have no visibility into that large chunk of the business.
- Cross Border Trade variance – While ChannelAdvisor does have a fair amount of non-domestic GMV (>25%), our mix and currency exposure is vastly different than other e-commerce players.
- Software Impact – At the end of the day, we are a software company. Some of our features cause a short-term bump in sales that may skew results high a the beginning and then lower at the end of a one year SSS cycle.
- Channel impact – Certain changes at e-commerce channels may cause more good or harm to our customer base, category mix, international mix and software. While the data shows these changes, because we are not a material part of every channel, over 90% of that channel’s business may not have the same impact (positive or negative).
SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long Amazon and Google. eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor.