Holiday 2011 Mid-December Update – Holding steady at 20%+

December 16, 2011

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

This is our thirteenth 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.

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about how the back-end of the Holiday is trending so we wanted to update everyone on what we’re seeing since last week’s update.

December 15, 2011 Holiday Tracker

Note that we tend to think of the Holiday selling season  in three chunks:

  • Pre-holiday – November-Thanksgiving
  • CyberFive – The official kickoff and ‘surge’ of the holiday (Thanksgiving-CyberMonday)
  • Back-end – Generally starts after CyberMonday and goes through 12/23

Here’s an updated Holiday Tracker for you.  The new data is in yellow and we’ve updated two timeframes:

  1. Holiday YTD – This tracks Thanksgiving-12/15 2010 vs. 2011 (with the same number of days in each).  This datapoint gives us a read on how the Holiday is trending overall.
  2. December MTD – 12/1/10 – 12/15/10 compared to 12/1/11 – 12/15/11 – This data shows us how the back part of the holiday is trending.  From this data we can generally get a read on if the early part of the holiday was

You may want to pull up the 12/7 data to see the trends.


Analysis of the 12/15 Update

The data is pretty self-explanatory, but here are some of our observations and we’d love to hear yours in comments:

  • It’s still a bit early to call, but so far everything points to a Holiday 2011 that is ~20% higher overall than 2010.  Given November and CyberFive compared to our 17% forecast, we were a little concerned we would see a decline in December indicating that the Holiday had just ‘moved up’, but here we are two weeks into Dec and holding steady at 22% for Dec and 21.9% for the holiday on top of a 26% for November.  If anything in percentage gain perspectives, the CyberFive was a bit light – probably due to tough comp last year.
  • Amazon is the clear winner, consistently coming in > 50% growth – a solid 2.5X e-commerce which indicates they are continuing their share gains.  You can see their Holiday YTD is creeping up as the  1P inventory sells out and our 3P inventory is really moving here later in the season.
  • Search slowing – As we get into December, search is down from the mid twenties to the 20% growth rate.  This is natural as a big chunk of search is research oriented and consumers are clearly more transactional from 12/1 on.
  • EU concerns haven’t materialized– While we haven’t broken it out here, we do follow the EU data closely and haven’t seen any signs of a bad holiday there amongst our channels/customers.
  • eBay back-end loaded – You can see eBay picking up as we get through December — climbing from the 12% CyberFive range to 21.3% growth here in December.  Even over the last week there has been acceleration from 20.4% to 21.3%.  While there’s no ‘tickle me elmo’ or ‘white hot ipad’ to speak of, there was the HP Touchpad frenzy and there are a good ten hot toys sold out at retail that are helping eBay as they are the goto channel for out of stock items.
  • CSEs hanging in there – Given the tough 2011, anything above zero growth for CSEs is a positive and we’re hanging in there.  Like search, CSEs tend to be heavy on research and lighter on transactional activity so there is a slowdown from the CyberFive 4% growth to the December 1%.


Up next…the last Holiday 11 datapoint

Since we posted today somewhat off-schedule, instead of updating on 12/19 as originally planned we’re going to push that to 12/23 so we can get a bit more data in the cycle for a more complete read on the holiday.  Until then I hope everyone has a great holiday and your GMV has been strong!

SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long google and amazon. eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.