Holiday 2011 – Early December Check-up

December 8, 2011

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

This is our twelfth update in our Holiday 2011 series. For details on the coverage plan and the seven themes we’ll be looking at, be sure to read this post first.

Today we wanted to update everyone on how the holiday season is going now that we have the first week of December behind us.  There are two new datasets that we are publishing:

  • Holiday YTD SSS -Same Store Sales for Holiday 2011 which we define as TG+14 days which is is: (11/24/11-12/7/11 vs. 11/25/10-12/8/10 inclusive).  This dataset tells us how the holiday is doing if you consider the holiday starting at Thanksgiving. Note given the early strength in November, we may have to revise this way of thinking, but that’s a topic for next year.
  • Dec MTD SSS – Same Store Sales for 12/1-12/7 compared 2010 to 2011.  This let’s us see how December is trending y/y. This can give us an idea of how the back-end of the holiday is shaping up.

December 7, 2011 Holiday Tracker

Here is a handy data tracker that includes today’s fresh data (in yellow) and also recaps the November results and CyberFive results previously released: (click to enlarge)

Dec_7_11_holiday_tracker

Holiday YTD Analysis

Overall, the holiday continues to go well and we are still trending over 20% y/y growth with a solid 21.3% which is actually higher (growth-wise, CM is still our record day) than what we saw during the CyberFive.  Channel-wise, everyone is holding in there with the exception of CSE.  They dipped a good bit as we got past the CyberFive.

December MTD Analysis

December’s data is very interesting.  You can see that all-in, December grew a bit faster, 22.6%, than the overall Holiday YTD and CyberFive.  A lot of this was driven by the marketplaces (eBay and Amazon) – where we are seeing two trends:

  • eBay is benefiting from these hot items being sold out almost everyone online: leappads, monster high, fijit, angry birds, doodle bear, lalaloopsy, Asus transformer prime, lots of legos, skylanders, sparkle uggs and lots of other items.  We’ve mentioned this before, but this datapoint is a great illustration – eBay tends to be back-end loaded and as things sell out offline and online, eBay benefits.  I actually think we have an unusual amount of these types of products we’re seeing this year -especially in toys and apparel and this is helping eBay and Amazon.  For example, LeapPad is going for $190-210 on eBay at a rapid clip right now – it’s a $99 MSRP product.
  • Amazon – You can see in December that Amazon  is accelerating too.  As mentioned, Amazon is selling out of their top sellers more frequently (see above for examples) and 3Ps are filling in the holes at an increasing rate.

Conversely, we’re seeing search (22.8%) cool down a bit as is CSE.  Part of this has to do with the ‘consideration funnel’ – at the top of the funnel, consumers are researching products and using CSE/S primarily.  As we get into December, they get to the bottom of the funnel, and a bit panicky from here on out and are much more transaction driven which plays to the marketplaces.

 

The bottom line

A couple of closing thoughts:

  • Holiday 2011 is on track to beat our 15% estimates and come in more like 20%
  • While CyberFive was strong, it actually lagged November and is lagging December. It looks like we are seeing both more shopping in November and December that growth-wise (not absolute trends) is beating out the CyberFive.

This last point appears to be due to three things:

  1. Tough CyberFive comp – last year the CyberFive growth was monster and hard to replicate.
  2. Moving up – This year consumers were very aggressive in November.
  3. Moving back – A plethora of sold-out items is helping marketplaces print a strong December (so far).

What are you guys seeing out there – let us know in comments.  We have a call with Citi’s Mark Mahaney tomorrow – let delisa.reavis at channeladvisor.com know if you would like the invite.

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