Thanksgiving online sales up 20.1% – Holiday 14 Update

November 28, 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.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is ready to hit the Black Friday sales (online) today!

Today we are looking at the first day of the Cyber Five: Thanksgiving. This is a deep dive into how Thanksgiving 2014 (Nov 27) compared to Thanksgiving 2013 (Nov 28).

Note: Each year we track the five days from Thanksgiving-Cyber Monday and call that the Cyber Five.  For the next five days we will be filling in this table:

cyberfive_tg_dboard

The headline here is y/y online sales for our ~2700 customers came in at 20.1% y/y growth on a same-store-sales basis.  Given that forecasts are calling for a 16% holiday growth rate, that’s a strong out-performance for Thanksgiving.  What we definitely know from November week 3 and now Thanksgiving is consumers are shopping much earlier this year than last year.  What we don’t know and won’t know until late December is if they will slow down and Holiday will end up at 16% or if consumers will continue and Holiday 14 will blow that 16% number out of the water.  Stay tuned.

Channel Analysis

In this section we look at how each e-commerce channel did y/y from fastest growing to slowest:

  • Other 3PM – The top growing channel is what we call Other 3PMs – marketplaces that are not eBay and Amazon.  Many of these are retailers that have added marketplaces (BestBuy, Sears, etc.) so they seem to have benefited from the omnichannel promotional activities growing 110% y/y.
  • Amazon – Coming in second was Amazon growing at 25.9%. Mid-day Thanksgiving, Amazon released aggressive Black Friday specials for Kindles and other devices.
  • Search – Traditional adwords Search was next coming in at 26.5% growth, a strong showing for search.  Throughout the year we have seen consumers use GS for < $75 items and search for > $75 – this trend indicates that consumers AOV is going to be very strong this holiday and they are utilizing search to price check higher end items like TVs/electronics, jewelry, etc.
  • Google Shopping/PLA – GS grew at 21.1% .
  • CSE – traditional CSEs grew 7% y/y.
  • eBay – eBay was the slowest growing channel on Thanksgiving coming in at 3% y/y growth.  At mid-day, eBay was at 6% and slowed through the back half of the day.  This indicates that consumers were either hitting the brick and mortar sales or utilizing other channels (e.g. Google’s search and PLA accelerated through the day).  In any case, 3% growth in a 21% environment is not good for eBay.  One trend to watch is scarcity, and we are seeing a lot of top-selling toys are out of stock already.  Scarcity benefits eBay and perhaps we’ll see things improve through the Cyber Five and the overall holiday.

Device Data

What’s also interesting is that mobile (phone+tablet) data was 49% of traffic on Thanksgiving.  This shows that while folks were out and about or on the couch (tablet) they were doing their online shopping.  This table shows the change in behavior from the first three weeks in November to Thanksgiving:

thanksgiving_mobile_trend

As we go through the next four days we will be watching this closely.  Last year, Cyber Sunday was the peak mobile traffic day.

Conclusion and next post

The conclusion from this data is that we are off to a strong start to Holiday 2014, but we only have one out of ~25 days in the records so we need to see what happens through the Cyber Five.  We anticipated a surge in mobile shopping this year and ~49% is a new high water mark.

Our next post will be later today where we’ll update you on Black Friday “Half time.”  We will update daily from here through the day after Cyber Monday.

This blog post was written by Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor CEO.