December 2015 ChannelAdvisor Same Store Sales (SSS) Report

January 7, 2016

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 2015 schedule can be found in this post.  

First, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year!!  Hopefully you were able to take some time off and enjoy the Holidays and, of course, see Star Wars – The Force Awakens!

Since this post marks the end of Holiday 15 and 2015 all together, let’s start with a wrap-up of the Holiday 15 results.

Holiday 2015 Wrap

ComScore reported today that by their estimates Holiday 15 came ‘short’ of their 14% goal.  They cited 6% growth on desktop vs. a 9% forecast, but mobile (which includes tablet and smartphone in their data) came in at > 60% y/y growth, which was ahead of plan, and helped make up some of the desktop discrepancy.

Looking at our results, here’s how Holiday 15 came out:


Overall, our SSS indicated 13.3% y/y growth.  Other 3PM led the e-commerce channels coming in at up 48.7%.  Google Shopping was second up 31.7% y/y followed by Amazon at 16.8%.  The under performers were eBay at 4.8%, CSE at -0.7% and Search was down 17.7%.

Other highlights from the holiday:

  • Cyber Monday was by far the peak day, followed by Black Friday and Green Monday (12/14/15).
  • The peak smartphone day was Cyber Saturday at 53%.  If you count tablet in mobile on Cyber Saturday then that was the peak mobile day coming in at 68% of traffic compared to desktop at 32%.  If this trend continues we’ll cross into the high 70’s for Holiday 16 key days and desktop will be down to < 25%.  If you are a retailer that doesn’t have a mobile-first strategy, 2016 has to be the year.
  • The lowest mobile day was Cyber Monday where mobile came in at 55% and desktop was 45%.  Smartphones were 43% and tablet was 12%.

The ‘shape’ of Holiday 15 was interesting, here’s how it trended compared to the 13.3% baseline:


The first two weeks of November started out sluggish and then the Cyber Five really drove a lot of the growth and then the last two weeks of December we had some procrastinators come in and keep the growth in that 13% band.

With that review of Holiday 15, let’s now continue with our regular monthly review of the SSS results.

December 2015 y/y SSS Results 

It’s important to remind everyone of the ‘2015 Cyber Monday shift.’  Cyber Monday, the biggest day of the year for e-commerce moved in 2015 from December (12/1/14)  to November (11/30/15).  This one day move crosses the month boundaries and creates a SSS situation where we are looking a bit at apples-to-oranges. It inflated November and ‘deflated’ December’s monthly SSS results.  Later in the report we have a normalized December view that includes Cyber Monday in both datapoints.  For the rest of the report, we look at the month of December 14 vs. 15, which does NOT include Cyber Monday in the 2015 data, but does include it in the 2014 data.  Because of the Cyber Monday shift, every channel we track decelerated from November to December as you would expect.  For Holiday 2016, Cyber Monday is in November which is the same as 2015, so we won’t have a Cyber Monday shift situation.

  • Amazon – Amazon’s December SSS came in at 15.5%,  a decrease compared to November’s 22.9%.
  • eBay –  eBay’s December SSS came in at 0.8%,  a decrease from November’s 5.6% and well below the e-commerce growth rate of 15% as predicted by comScore.  Further in the report, we have details of the eBay internals.
  • Other 3PM -Non eBay and Amazon marketplaces for December came in at 26.4%, a decrease from November’s 81.2%. 
  • Google Shopping/PLA – GS came in at 26.3% y/y growth for December, a decrease from November’s 42.4%.  Google Shopping details are provided later in the report.
  • CSE – Comparison Shopping Engines came in at -8.0% for December, a decrease from November’s 6.3%. CSEs decelerated due to the slow-down in Google Shopping.  Details on PLA/Google Shopping later in the report.
  • Search – Search (Google AdWords and Bing/Yahoo! AdCenter) came in at -19.5% for December, a decrease from November’s -4.1%.  Later in the report we have more search details.

SSS Chart 

The following chart details the SSS data for December 2014 through December 2015: (click to enlarge)


The 2014/2015 Cyber Monday Shift

Given the 2014/2015 Cyber Monday Shift in addition to the traditional December vs December data we also wanted to share the following table that shows a more apples-to-apples data set – 12/1/14-12/31/14 compared to 11/30/14-12/30/15.  This 31 day period is still a month, but is shifted one day in 2015 which serves to include Cyber Monday in both the current year period and the prior year period:


As you can see, including or not including Cyber Monday does make a difference causing most channels to have a much stronger December.   The primary exception is Google Shopping/PLA which because of it’s non promotional/discount/curated orientation is not a big player on Cyber Monday (but did do well over the entire holiday as mentioned in the top of the post).

The rest of the report continues with our normal calendar month alignment.

eBay Details

eBay’s SSS for December was 0.8%.  To get a feel for what drove the marketplace’s performance, here are the interior data points for the month:

  • eBay auctions – December’s eBay auction SSS were negative 27.0% y/y, a decrease compared to November’s  negative 25.3%.
  • eBay fixed-price – Came in at negative 2.4% y/y in December – down from November’s 3.9%.
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) – P+A  bucked the trend of other eBay components and came in in-line with e-commerce for December at 15.6% down slightly when compared to November’s 17.6%.  eBay Motors P+A continued to be the bright spot in the eBay SSS results, growing fastest of all the eBay components and in-line with e-commerce.

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


Amazon details

We watch two Amazon internal data points around FBA adoption and FBA/off-Amazon trends:


  • 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 2015, 41.7% of Amazon GMV was FBA.  That was up from a year ago, December 2014, where 39.1% of the SSS GMV was FBA.  That’s a 6.7% increase y/y in FBA as a % of GMV.  As in past years, December’s level of FBA shipments was the highest point of the year.
  • % 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.).  A year ago in December 2014, 1.1% was non-Amazon fulfilled.  Then in December 2015, we saw this grow 62.7% y/y to 1.8%.

Supplemental data for Search

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


Note: These are all y/y SSS comparisons (December 2015 vs. December 2014).

Clicks (a measure of volume) were up 2.9% and cost was up 7.8%.  Orders were negative 12.3% due to a decrease of 14.7% in Conversion Rate (CR) to 4.60%.  AOV saw a nice increase of 9.4% y/y to $172.61.

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

Here is the December 2015 Google Shopping/Product Listing Ad supplemental data:


Overall, Google Shopping/PLA for December came in up 26.3% y/y.   The conversion rate was down this month y/y declining 11.7% from 3.61% (Dec 14) to 3.19% (Dec 15). AOV decreased 6.8% from $114.24 a year ago to $106.52.



December concluded the critical Q4 holiday season and 2015.   We saw Google Shopping/PLA, Other 3PM, Amazon and eBay P+A meeting or exceeding the ~15% comScore e-commerce growth rate baseline, while eBay, Search and CSE grew slower than the baseline.  This is our last SSS post covering 2015 – thank you to everyone for reading and for your input into our data and process.

This blog post was written by Scot Wingo, Executive Chairman and Founder, ChannelAdvisor.