Seeking Alpha
Profile| Send Message|
( followers)

Note: This is a monthly feature published by ChannelAdvisor highlighting the Same Store Sales (SSS) across our wide range of over 3000 retailers and ~$3b in GMV. Details on the SSS including methodology and schedule can be found in January's post.

We are releasing February 2012 data for Marketplaces (eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY)/Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)), Search and Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) along with supplemental data.

This month is very unique because it adds the extra leap-year day of February 29th. This creates an interesting situation as Feb 2012 has one more day than Feb 2011. "What difference could one day make?!" you ask yourself. Good question. The difference in our World of e-commerce is actually big enough that it's worth spending a bit of time on.

When you increase a 28-day month by a day, that gives you a 3.571% increase in time to sell for the month. Since many of our SSS datapoints are in the single or double digit percentages, a 3.571% swing can really matter. Also, if the day happens to fall on a more active e-commerce day, then the impact is even more pronounced (it was a Wednesday this year). For example if the SSS were 10% when comparing normal Februarys and you then threw a leap year in there, it would be (on average) 13.571% - definitely a material difference.

This brings us to our leap year dilemma - should we forget ole' Feb 29 when comparing SSS or should we include it? Well we figured since everyone loves their SSS data so much we would....provide both. That's right folks, for leap years, and leap years only, you get a two for the price of one SSS bonus! Going forward into next year we will compare against the 28 days to keep things normalized.

Enjoy it this year, because we won't be running this promo until 2016!

February 2012 SSS Results (28 day edition)
  • Amazon (AMZN) - Amazon came in at a robust 59.9% y/y growth for February.
  • eBay (EBAY) - eBay came in at 19.7%, showing very good signs of growth.
  • CSE - Comparison Shopping Engines faced continued pressure, coming in at down 7.6%
  • Search - Search came in at 23.2%

SSS Chart (28 day edition)

The following chart details the SSS data for February 2011 through February 2012: (click to enlarge)

Feb_sss_28day

February 2012 SSS Results (29 day edition)
When you include 2/29, the results are a bit larger as explained in the header.
  • Amazon - Amazon came in at 65.8% y/y growth for February.
  • eBay - eBay came in at 24.4%.
  • CSE - Comparison Shopping Engines faced continued pressure, coming in at down 3.8%
  • Search - Search came in at 28.5%

Note that most channels enjoyed a 4-5% lift from the extra day, so it was a disproportionately great day - I strike it up to leap year fever which had people shopping online with wild abandon.

SSS Chart (29 day edition)

The following chart details the SSS data for February 2011 through February 2012: (click to enlarge) including 2/29/12!

Feb_sss_29day

eBay Details

No matter how you slice it, the eBay (28 day) 19.7% and (29 day) 24.4% y/y growth rates are very strong data points for that marketplace - the fastest on record since December. With that in mind, we wanted to share some of the detailed metrics we have available to help shed some light on what's going on there: (these are all the 28 day versions)

  • eBay auctions - down 19.5% y/y
  • eBay fixed-price - up 19.7% y/y
  • eBay Motors (parts and accessories) - Up 57.7%

The story we've been telling a while continues. Fixed price is growing well, auctions are doing very poorly and eBay Motors is killing it as a category. For our customers, auctions are in the sub 20% range from a mix perspective so having less and less impact over time.

Of course, standard disclaimers apply that we have a unique mix (different than overall eBay) of categories and price formats.

Supplemental data for Search

The supplemental paid-search details are available in this table:

Feb_sss_search_details

CPC has held relatively flat y/y and the two big changes are great growth in paid clicks and a nice bump in AOV. AOV is one of the barometers I always look at to get a real-time read on consumer confidence and this relatively big bump up, I believe, indicates that consumers are starting to open up their wallets further and feel better about the economy.

Conclusions

Based on the Jan/Feb data, the e-commerce world feels like it is setting up for a very strong Q1 and hopefully, that parlays into continued strength throughout the year. I'd love to hear any questions you have or comments on how the year is going for you in comments.

Disclosure: I am long Amazon and Google. EBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.

Source: Amazon, eBay: Same Store Sales Update For February 2012