**NOTE: There was a typo in this post, eBay was written as 22% in the top summary, but is actually 21.3% in the graphs and eBay detail sections. 21.3% is the correct number and has been fixed throughout. – 10/9/12 10pm ET.
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 methodology and schedule can be found in January’s post.
Today we are releasing September 2012 data for Marketplaces (eBay/Amazon), Search and Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) along with supplemental data.
September 2012 SSS Results
- Amazon – In September, Amazon’s SSS were 36.6% y/y, down slightly from August’s 40.7% growth rate. September continues Amazon’s greater than 2X growth-rate compared to Comscore’s reported e-commerce growth rate (15% in Q2).
- eBay – eBay came in at a healthy 21.3%, which was down slightly from August’s 23.9%, but continuing to show strong growth through Q3. Details in the eBay section below.
- CSE – Comparison Shopping Engines were less worse as retailers ramp up their Google Shopping/Product Listing Ads spend coming in at down 12.3%. Details on this decrease are in the CSE sub-section.
- Search – Search really decelerated (Note this is AdWords only – text links, no PLA/Google Shopping) to down 9.6%. Search details are below.
The following chart details the SSS data for September 2011 through September 2012: (click to enlarge)
As mentioned, CSE SSS were down 12.3% for September. There are a lot of moving parts between Google’s Search and CSE offerings, here is a summary of what we are seeing:
- Google is moving traffic from free (GPS) to paid (GS) – the current ETA for a 100% switch over is October 17th.
- Retailers continue to participate in the free program. We are at a ~70% adoption rate
- The retailers are definitely not pushing as large a selection in the program as before due tot he CPC. We’ll have some data on this shortly on sister site CSE Strategies.
- The retailers that are participating are watching the economics very carefully
The implications of the above:
- Inside of our SSS CSE measures, GPS GMV is going down and PLA is going up – we don’t anticipate that the PLA levels will meet the GPS levels for quite a while, if ever because the program went from free to paid.
- Inside of our SSS Search measures, we believe with the very prominent and graphical approach in the UX Google is taking, that commercial/ecommerce clicks will gravitate to GS/PLA creating headwinds for the adwords/text links program.
As the October deadline passes, we believe this will bottom out and we’ll see a reversal heading into the Holidays as retailers adopt the program and start to ramp their economics.
eBay’s September 21.3% y/y SSS % growth was down a bit from August. To get a feel for what’s driving the marketplaces’ performance, here are the interior datapoints for the month:
- eBay auctions – down 17.3% y/y – Auctions seemed to stabilize in July, but towards the end of Q3 we have seen them erode a fair amount. We mentioned earlier that eBay has rolled out a new change as of early October that removes auction duplicate listings along with some big search changes. Perhaps this will have an impact on the auction format. October’s data should give us some insights. Also, annually eBay launches a holiday promotional blitz and given their positive comments and growth we believe this holiday they should increase the spend against those programs considerably.
- eBay fixed-price – up 24.1% y/y – Fixed price growth has ticked down a couple of points every month since the July 33% high. As previously reported, eBay has made some pretty dramatic announcements to sellers about changes to search which we will keep an eye on that may have an impact on their FP growth rates.
- eBay Motors (parts and accessories) – Up 38.2%, a very nice uptick from August. eBay continues to execute very well in this category.
After looking at the details, eBay’s September slight slowdown was primarily due to the auction format and that dip in the fixed-price format growth rate.
Here are the YTD trends on these eBay internals:
Supplemental data for Search
The following table includes the supplemental data for paid-search:
Search really felt the pressure in September as Google ramped up the query coverage for Google Shopping. You can see clicks to paid-search ads were down 8%. CPC went up 8% reflecting a bump in conversion rate (the clicks that don’t make their way to Google Shopping) must be higher quality, which indicates that Google is doing the ‘right thing’ for consumers – Conversion Rates are the best indicator we have of relevance. AOV held steady. The combination of clicks down 8% and a slight dip in AOV contributed to the search decline and were largely due to the increased penetration of Google Shopping.
Supplemental data for Google Shopping
Both the AOV and CR are up considerably indicating that the early days of the Google Shopping program are being well received by consumers and participating retailers that are focused on ROI are continuing to enjoy strong economics.
As we head into Q4, Q3 came in pretty solid with the overall theme of marketplaces continuing to do well with mixed results from search+CSE as google undergoes a substantial change in their prime CSE program.
Written by Scot Wingo – CEO and co-founder, ChannelAdvisor Corporation