September Same Store Sales – eBay continues growth trend.

October 5, 2009

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

We just completed collating our September same-store-sales (SSS) data for all of the channels we support at ChannelAdvisor (search, CSE, marketplaces, etc) and there are a couple of interesting data points to discuss as we exit Q3 and head into Q4.

Overall e-commerce
 
First, here’s the chart that shows the SSS for eBay, Amazon and overall e-commerce.
September_sss_chart
I don’t believe comscore has come out with with their data yet on September, so that part of the chart isn’t filled in.  For overall e-commerce (ChannelAdvisor SSS in the chart) , we saw that dip slightly from 8.7% in August to 7.3% in September.  That’s a small change and one that we don’t think is worrisome.
Marketplaces (eBay and Amazon)
Amazon took a bit of a tick up, increasing from an already heady 53% growth rate to 55%.  Historically when there are major new books (Twilight, Harry Potter,etc.) we see a lift on Amazon, so internally we’re calling this the Dan Brown September blip.
eBay continued to do well and posted a 5.1% y/y SSS month for Sept on the heels of the surprising August 4.6% upswing.  One yellow flag is that we’re hearing from sellers that the new eTRS program and SR2 changes to search are very disruptive to their businesses.  That went into effect 10/1 so we’ll keep a close eye on the October SSS to see if those changes slow/negate many of the Aug/Sept gains.  This feedback is anecdotal so far as the changes are < 5 days old and still taking a while to ripple through the ecosystem.
CSE
CSEs are holding steady – up 6.4% y/y for us and performing well.  They usually really pop in Q4.
Search
 
Paid-search SSS were up 5.2% y/y with CPCs rebounding considerably from the year ago period.  One interesting observation we’ve had as the Google/Bing wars have really warmed up and spilled into e-commerce.  When you look at a pure SSS share world as we are in this post, Google’s real ‘enemy’ or threat maybe a better word is Amazon.  Amazon is on a clear path with their huge share gains to become the ‘product search’ of the internet.  Product-related (retail) searches make up 40% of google’s revenue and if Amazon were able to chip away at that, let’s just say it wouldn’t be good for Google.
Conclusion 
September puts an end to Q3 where it appears we saw things rebound for e-commerce in general and definitely eBay specifically is showing another datapoint pointed at a recovery.  Is the consumer’s wallet freeing up? Are we benefiting from easier y/y comps than we’ve had in a long time?  Yes!  Does this mean we’ll have a monster Q4?  At ChannelAdvisor, we’re counseling customers to look for a flat to up 5% Q4 this year and be pleasantly surprised should it end up coming in stronger than that.
We’d love to hear your Q3 thoughts and results with Q4 forecasts in comments.
Disclaimers
SeekingAlpha Disclaimer: I am long google and amazon. eBay is a minority shareholder in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.
This data represents the combination of results from > 3000 online retailers that together represent > $3b in e-commerce via ChannelAdvisor’s software.
Our eBay data is not 100% of eBay, we have less international and a different category mix than eBay (e.g. we do not have any autos).
Our Amazon data is primarily what Amazon calls EGM – Electronics and General Merchandise, we have little to no exposure in the media (book/music/video) categories.
All data is ex-travel and groceries.