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

January 7, 2015

ChannelAdvisor Scot Wingo By Scot Wingo

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 December 2014 SSS data for eBay, Amazon, Google Search and Google Shopping/PLA.  ComScore predicted that US e-commerce for Holiday 14 would grow at 14% y/y for the desktop, which translates to ~16% y/y with mobile included, so that was the baseline for 2014 growth.

Before we go into the December SSS, we wanted to close out Holiday 2014 and start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

This chart summarizes the SSS for Nov/Dec 2014.  Traditionally you would think of holiday as Thanksgiving-Christmas, but what we saw this year was a much earlier start to the holiday, so we feel it’s more appropriate to look at those two months together:

dec_sss_holiday14_recap

A you can see, our customers grew for the holiday period right in-line with the comScore forecast coming in at 16.2% for this period.

The winning channels (those that grew in-line or ahead of this trend line) were:

  • Other 3PM – Other 3PM grew more than 2X the baseline holiday growth rate, coming in at 34% y/y this year; and the fastest-growing e-commerce channel we track.  I always get questions on this one so will restate here that ‘Other 3PM’ includes those marketplaces that are not eBay and Amazon such as NewEgg, Sears, BestBuy, Rakuten, Play, LaRadoute, etc.  For a full list of the > 37 marketplaces that ChannelAdvisor supports, check our site.
  • Amazon – Amazon had a strong Holiday growing at 26.9% for the two-month period.  Amazon launched many of their best deals early in November and seems to have been the primary instigator and beneficiary of the early start to Holiday 14.
  • Google Search / PLA -Google’s Comparison Shopping Engine, Google Shopping, aka Product Listing Ads (PLA) also performed well over the holiday, even though it had a bit of a rough spot over the Cyber Five period coming in at 15.9% y/y growth for Holiday 14.

These other channels lagged the 16% baseline:

  • Search – Search (Google Adwords, Bing/Yahoo! sponsored listings) lagged the baseline with 11.8% y/y growth.
  • eBay – eBay came in at 7.3% for Holiday 14, ~10% below the baseline.  eBay had a good start in November and the Cyber Five, but was challenged in early November and late December, so the expansion of our definition of holiday ‘hurt’ eBay.
  • CSE (Comparison Shopping Engines) -Even with the in-line performance of Google Shopping, traditional CSEs (eBay Commerce Network (the CSE formerly known as Shopping.com), TheFind, PriceGrabber, ShopZilla, etc.) are under pressure from Google’s SEO changes and that weighed significantly on their Holiday 14 performance.

Through the holiday we looked at the ‘shape’ of the holiday.  Historically we can look at the y/y growth rates compared to other periods to get an idea of how consumer behavior changed from one year to another.  Here’s the last look at Holiday 14 vs. 13:

dec_sss_holiday_shape

The green line is the Holiday 14 baseline of 16%.  The blue line is Holiday 13 growth rates (13 vs. 12) and the red line is Holiday 14 growth rates (14 vs. 13).  The first thing you notice is that Holiday 14 started November strong with above baseline growth well into the first week of December.  Then we had a slow decrease under the baseline from Dec 1-31.  Last year there was a ‘procrastinator pop’ in the last week of the holiday selling period.  This year we did not see that.   Here are a couple of thoughts on why Holiday 14 started early and didn’t pop compared to 13:

  • As mentioned, Amazon, started the promotional calendar early in November with a month of Black Friday/doorbuster type sales.
  • Consumers were well aware of the 2013 shipping debacle and wanted to avoid it this year so both shopped earlier and didn’t rely on e-commerce for that last week.
  • Retailers made their ‘get it for Christmas’ dates as requested by the shipping carriers
  • Several Wall St. folks have pointed out that when you have a big surge in one year (e.g. 2013 December Week 3) it creates a tough y/y comparison and even 8% over that is impressive and still a ‘pop’, but muted because of the y/y headwind.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and any trends you saw around Holiday 14 – let us know in the comment section.

With that analysis of Holiday 14 behind us, here are the y/y SSS results for December 2014:

December  2014 SSS Results 

  • Amazon – Amazon’s December SSS came in at 21.8%,  a decrease compared to November’s 35.7% .
  • eBay –  eBay’s December came in at 5.8% down from November’s 9.8% and below the e-commerce growth rate.  Further in the report, we have details of the eBay internals.
  • Other 3PM -3PM continued strong growth in December coming in at 28.5% a decrease from November’s 41.6%. 
  • CSE – Comparison Shopping Engines came in at -2.3% for December down from November’s 12.3%.  This was largely driven by weakness in the traditional CSE segment that overshadowed strength in Google Shopping / PLA (details later).
  • Search – Search came in at 9.4% for December a decrease from November’s 15.6% y/y growth.  Later in the report we have more search details.

SSS Chart 

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

dec_sss_dashboard

eBay Details

eBay’s SSS for December was 5.8%.  To get a feel for what is driving the marketplace’s performance, here are the interior data points for the month:

  • eBay auctions – Down 12.9% y/y.
  • eBay fixed-price – Up 5.7% y/y in December – a decrease from November’s 9.9%, which puts this key part of eBay with growth about one-third the pace of e-commerce.
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) – P+A  was essentially flat m/m in November coming in at 12.6% compared to November’s 13%.

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

dec_sss_ebay_details

Amazon Details

dec_sss_amazon_details

In June 2014, we released two new data points around FBA:

  • Percent FBA – This measures the % of Amazon GMV through the ChannelAdvisor system that was fulfilled through FBA and tracks it on a y/y basis.  For December 2014, 44% of Amazon GMV was FBA (November was a high water mark at 53%).  That was up from December 2013 where 40.9% of the GMV was FBA.  That’s a 7.5% increase y/y in FBA as a % of GMV.
  • % FBA non Amazon – Here we look at the total bucket of FBA-driven GMV and look at the % that was not fulfilled for Amazon sales (website, other 3PMs, Search, CSE, etc.).  In December 2013, .9% was non-Amazon fulfilled.  Then in December 2014, we saw this grow 23% to 1.1%.

Supplemental data for Search

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

dec_sss_search_details

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

Search SSS increased 9.4% for December driven by increases in clicks (up 6%), AOV (which was up to $149.36 a 7% y/y increase) and Conversion Rate (CR), which improved 2% to 5.15%.   CPC was down 11% due to the headwind of mobile traffic which surged during the holiday period.  Total cost was down 6% because of the decline in CPC.

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

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

dec_sss_gs_details

Overall, Google Shopping for December came in up 13.2% y/y, a decrease from November’s 22.5%.   The Conversion rate was up y/y 9.8% from 3.29% to 3.61%. AOV increased 23.8% from $92.41 a year ago to $114.24, also a good move, but lagging traditional Search/Adwords.

Conclusion 

December closed 2014 and Holiday 14 with some channels coming in well ahead of the 16% baseline (Amazon, 3PM), some in-line (GS) and others lagging (Search, eBay, CSE).  This is our last SSS post for 2014.  We will publish our 2015 schedule soon and January results will be published in early Feb.

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