Holiday 2014 ChannelAdvisor SSS – First Week of December & Holiday to Date

December 9, 2014

ChannelAdvisor Scot Wingo By Scot Wingo

Note: This is a regular 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 schedule can be found in this post.  Our detailed Holiday 2014 schedule can be found here.

 

Holiday 2014 First Week of December Update

Today we are releasing new SSS data through the first week of December (12/7/14).  The updated Holiday 2014 Dashboard below has three columns that summarize the data.  The first column in this table is a recap of the Cyber Five.  The second column is Holiday YTD where we track how the holiday is trending from Thanksgiving->first week of December (note this is offset by one day to line up with last year).  Finally, the third column shows the y/y trend for the first week of December.  December 1 was Cyber Monday, so there is a bit of overlap with the Cyber Five there.

holiday_14_dec_wk1_dashboard

If you look at the Total SSS y/y line, you’ll notice that SSS for our customers are coming in right at the comScore 16% forecast YTD for the holiday. After Cyber Monday, we are seeing a y/y cooling off (14.8% for the first week) which is normal as consumers take a breather and retailers have taken off most of their big Cyber Five levels of promotions. Later in the report we look at the ‘shape’ of Holiday 14 for e-commerce.

Channel Observations

  • Leaders -When you look at the table there are only two e-commerce channels that have consistently out-performed the overall growth rate – Amazon and ‘other 3PM.’  Both have slowed as we have gotten deeper into the holiday, but with Amazon at 20.8% and Other 3PM at 44% in the first week of December, they are both considerably ahead of the overall growth rate.
  • Inline – eBay and traditional search (Google Adwords/Bing) have been in-line with the 16% y/y comScore growth rate.  This is good news for both of these channels because coming into holiday, they were lagging the e-commerce growth rate.
  • Laggards – CSE and Google Shopping have been lagging the 16% baseline for all three measures.  In fact Google Shopping went ‘negative’ for the first week of December.

Device Observations

Device trends have been very steady.  Thanksgiving was the top mobile day at 49% of traffic. Since then we have seen mobile in the 41-45% range.  As the holiday marches on, we expect to see conversion rates on all devices decline a bit as consumers are more selective and looking for the best offers and comparing many merchants.

 

Holiday  Trends

At this point in the holiday it’s interesting to take a step back and see where we are and the trends we have seen.  I call this the ‘shape’ of the holiday. By looking at the y/y growth rates of different periods, we can get a feel for how this holiday is ‘acting’ vs. previous holidays.   For example, here at the end of December week 1 we have a peak kind of shape:

 

hol14_shape_1

The peak  for Holiday 14 was actually the third week of November where SSS y/y growth hit the highest growth rate and have come down from there.  (Cyber Monday is still the largest day, but we are looking at y/y growth rates here, not absolute $).

Now let’s look at the shape of this year vs. last year from the same period (November week 1 through December week 1):

 

hol14_shape2

The blue line is Holiday 2013 (growth rate of 13 over 12) and the red line is Holiday 2014 (growth rate of 14 over 13).  Here you can see that the holiday has clearly shifted ‘earlier’ with consumers shopping much more actively in the first three weeks of November vs. 2013 (where you can see the Peak was later in December week 1).

Finally, here’s what 2013 looked like when we extend the chart out through the end of the holiday (third week of December):

hol_shape3

This is what I call the U shaped holiday.  That jump back up at the end of the holiday I like to call the procrastinator pop.  This spike is what caught the carriers by surprise last year and we’ll be watching closely to see if we repeat that this year.  If you look at how the holiday is pulled up 1-2 weeks this year, it will be interesting to see if we hit it earlier or if it also waits until the last shipping week in December like last year.  Knowing procrastinators, myself included, I suspect it will be week three again.

Up next…

Our next holiday post will be on 12/15 where we look at late December.

This blog post was written by Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor CEO