Holiday Shopping Numbers

November 28, 2007

While I’ll try to do a comparison when I have everyone’s numbers, I want to start sharing the data I do have:

-comScore reported that “shoppers spent 21 percent more online this Cyber Monday, November 26, than they did last year.”
-U.S. online shoppers spent a record $733 million in a single day on Cyber Monday, according to market research firm ComScore.

PriceGrabber
According to PriceGrabber President Ron LaPierre…
-Referrals to merchants for Nov. 22 – Nov. 24 were up 45% year over year.
-The Nintendo Wii was the top product all holiday weekend and was still the top product as of about noon on Cyber Monday (Nov. 26). While the Wii was out of stock at a lot of retailers, there were always at least 17 Storefronts willing to sell the console at a premium.
-The Microsoft Zune was the #2 product all weekend. On Pricegrabber, Microscoft’s share of the MP3 category has gone from 5.4% at end of October to 13.5% month-to-date through Nov. 21. The most popular iPod has only been as high as the #12 product.
-This is definitely the year of the GPS. 3 of the top 15 products are GPS units.
-The top 5 product categories were unchanged from last year: Electronics, Computers, Home & Garden, Cameras, and Clothing (in that order).
-Toys are still popular as a channel – moving between the #3 and #6 spot – but the China scare is playing a big role in unpredictability.
-Women’s handbags and shoes have been the biggest non-tech products.
-Ron predicts that the next 2 Mondays will be big shopping days and that there will be a fairly noticeable decline back to pre-Thanksgiving levels after Friday, December 14th.

shopping.com
According to eBay’s press release
-”Shopping.com’s traffic to its merchants on Cyber Monday 2007 increased 28 percent compared to last year as more shoppers sought out the comparison shopping site to find some of the best online deals. Traffic to merchants for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Black Friday through Cyber Monday, was also up 30 percent year-over-year. ”
-”“We’re pleased with the early spike in online shopping, but are looking forward to the second Monday in December, or what we’ve begun to call ‘Green Monday,’ when we expect online shopping to really peak this season,” said CEO of Shopping.com Josh Silverman. “Green Monday outpaced Cyber Monday in the past few years in terms of revenue and consumer traffic on our site. More shoppers are comfortable doing the bulk of their online shopping later in the season, and after surveying our merchants, we found that a whopping 72 percent are offering next day shipping this year as a response to demand to shop later.””

yahoo shopping
According to Yahoo! Shopping PR…
-Transformers Bumblebee overtook the Nintendo Wii as the top product for the Holiday Shopping weekend (Nov. 24 – Nov 25) – the first time the Wii has been displaced since June when the iPhone launched. After Bumblebee and the Wii comes Apple iPhone 8GB, Sharp Aquos LC-46D62U, and the Nintendo DS Lite Onyx.
-50% year over year traffic growth for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
-Compared to the month of November 2006, page view traffic is up 37% for the 2007 Holiday season (This is based on comparing November 2 to 18, 2006 and November 1 to 17, 2007)
-Clicks are up 13% compared to last year (This is based on comparing November 2 to 18, 2006 and November 1 to 17, 2007).
-Top categories for the weekend: Apparel, Electronics, Home and Garden, Toys, Hobbies, and Collectibles, Computers and Software, Video Games, Jewelry, Sports and Outdoors (in that order)
-Green products may not be the big winners this year. The Yahoo! survey found that most holiday shoppers are not swayed by a product’s green status when shopping for holiday gifts. In fact, 63 percent of holiday shoppers are equally as likely to purchase a gift that is labeled green as one that is not.
-More than 1 in 4 holiday shoppers (27%) say their holiday spending budgets will be less this year as compared to last year. Additionally, 89% of holiday shoppers actively seek bargains or sales when holiday shopping.


Yahoo Merchant Solutions down on Cyber Monday – Ouch!

November 28, 2007

Update: Checkout this post by Rich Riley, SVP Yahoo! regarding the outage…and then read the strongly worded comments.

yahoo merchant solutions

As everyone and their grandmother reported, Yahoo! Merchant Solutions experienced outages on Cyber Monday, potentially losing its merchants boatloads of $$$$.

The official response from Yahoo!:

We are aware that Merchant Solutions was experiencing some problems today [Monday] due to heavy holiday traffic on Yahoo! powered merchant stores. We are aware of the issues and are working towards a solution as quickly as possible. Yahoo! makes every effort to prevent outages. We continue to put strategies in place that will minimize the impact that extremely heavy traffic periods have on our merchants. Yahoo!’s relationship with our merchants is extremely important to us and we value their loyalty. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and we are continuing to put processes in place to prevent further disruptions.

Yahoo! Merchant Solutions (formerly known at Yahoo! Stores) is probably the largest ecommerce provider with somewhere between 40k – 50k storefronts. While Cyber Monday is not the busiest shopping day of the year, it’s close. This is obviously completely inexcusable.

Sure, there are a ton of other solutions – Homestead (ProStores), osCommerce, Infopia, Cart32, etc. – but while merchants will groan and complain, the thing is that changing ecommerce providers can be a pain in the ass. Assuming that Yahoo! takes care of its merchants the rest of the holiday shopping season, I’m not sure there will be much of an exodus to other ecommerce providers.


Intuit Acquires Homestead for $170M

November 28, 2007

homestead intuit

You can read the standard press release or read Homestead CEO Justin Kitch’s blog post (read the blog post).

The press release states that it is a cash transaction valued at approximately $170 million.

For those of you who don’t know Homestead, the company allows small businesses to quickly and easily create a professional website for just $4.99/month. Homestead Storefront goes a step further and allows for ecommerce transactions. I believe that Homestead is the largest ProStores reseller on the net, but don’t quote me on that.

Homestead is a true dot com survivor and winner. Congrats to Justin and his team on the acquisition!

Full Disclosure: My brother, Craig Sherman, is on Homestead’s BOD.


It’s Holiday Shopping Time at Google

November 26, 2007

-Google dropped its ‘Video’ link in favor of a ‘Products’ link (via SearchEngineLand via Google Blogoscoped)

Google Product Search
(pic taken from Google Blogoscoped)

-Google Checkout launched a number of promotions with its partners. Here are the Google Checkout holiday offers. The Google Checkout offers are all over the place in terms of value and some require a coupon code, so I’m not really sure who is footing the bill for the discounts. Last year the basic Google Checkout offer was $10 off for new Geckout customers.

Here are some examples of how merchants are promoting Google Checkout:

Google Checkout Offer Holiday 2007
(ToolsForLess)

Google Checkout Holiday
(Your Electronic Warehouse)


Live Search Shopping

November 20, 2007

Eric Enge has an in depth interview with Microsoft’s Gary Wiseman about Live Search Shopping.
Eric also wrote about Live’s feature/attribute level ratings/reviews.


PriceGrabber Redesign

November 19, 2007

PriceGrabber has a snazzy new design (they are A/B testing, so you might not see it yet). Lots to discuss, and I don’t have time right now, but I wanted to highlight 2 big changes:
-There’s a really BIG search box at the top of the page
-PriceGrabber is pushing Storefronts, an incredible, but little covered program

New look:

PriceGrabber redesign top

pricegrabber redesign bottm

Old look:
pricegrabber old

Thanks for the heads up, Mike!


Holiday Shopping 2007

November 18, 2007

Yes, I’ve been all doom and gloom lately, but holiday shopping still kicks off this week.

I’ll have a more in depth look at each holiday shopping site soon, but here are the basic links:
-Yahoo Shopping’s Holiday Gift Guide features top holiday gifts, gifts for giving, green gifts, and a prominent coupon section.
-Shopping.com’s Holiday Picks features 20 picks (for her, him, kids, and the whole family).
-PriceGrabber’s Holiday Shopping Guide is heavy on the sponsorships, but also features a last minute shopping section through which consumers can shop by delivery date.
-Become’s Holiday Gift Guide is just that, a nice guide to Holiday Decorations & Wrapping, Gift Cards, and more.
MSN Shopping’s Holiday Gift Shop has little editorial content at this point (although I suspect that will change), but slices and dices gift guides in every way imaginable: Media Maniac, Sports Pro, and Beauty Buff.


Shopping Engines Seeing Green

November 18, 2007

No, I’m not talking about dollars, I’m talking about saving the environment.

Yahoo Shopping now has a Green Shopping section (to complement the incredible Yahoo! Green). PriceGrabber has Shop Green. TheFind has TheFind Green. MSN Shopping has Shop Green.

While I’ll let these companies quibble about the size of their carbon footprints, what’s important is that these ‘mini-sites’ can be extremely effective merchandising efforts. The other shopping engines all have green products in their databases. I’d expect to see additional ‘green’ launches in the near future.

P.S. Joe, Yahoo! Green has a link to a Green Gift Guide. You’ve gotta get a more prominent link in there back to Yahoo Green Shopping. Pristine Planet might be a good site, but that should be your link!


Shopping Engines Recession Proof?

November 18, 2007

High oil prices + credit crunch + housing crisis = Bad Feeling. But does that bad feeling = Good or Bad news for the shopping engines?

Overall, the US economy is not in great shape. That means that retail sales aren’t going to grow that much. Online sales growth will be stronger than offline sales growth as its a younger industry, but I’d be surprised to see much positive news come January.

The shopping engine industry, though, should still have a fairly impressive holiday shopping season (compared to overall ecommerce figures) as it’s still a growing online marketing channel for merchants and as much as shopping engines have evolved, they are still known as price comparison engines to most consumers.

So I’m not going to say that the shopping engines are recession proof, because they aren’t. But the shopping engines and the retailers who use them will perform fairly well over the next 6 weeks.


Bad Feeling

November 16, 2007

Gotta love these cover article pictures (click on the pics to read the stories):

BusinessWeek Recession

Economist Recession

And these recent headlines:
-J.C. Penney cuts outlook, adding to holiday jitters: “We have to be realistic about our expectations for the balance of the year,” he said, adding that “2008 is going to continue to be a difficult environment. We are planning 2008 very conservatively on expenses.”
-Macy’s posts profit but pares sales forecast: “The company did beat” estimates, said Brian Sozzi, a retail analyst with Wall Street Strategies. “But fleshing out those details, I don’t think the quarter was strong enough to warrant a sustained upward movement in the stock based on the macro trends.”
-Deutche Bank’s Investment Thesis (November 11, 2007): Our longstanding investment thesis recommends caution, given the apparent weakness of consumer spending (driven in part by gasoline inflation, a weak housing market, elevated credit concerns and an erratic stock market).
-Getting worried downtown: The bigger point is that even if the economy technically avoids a recession, it will feel like one to most Americans—because it will be led by consumers.
-J.C. Penney, Williams-Sonoma Net Dims Holiday Outlook: The department-store sector is an absolute train wreck; the home-furnishings sector has been the worst, led by Home Depot,’’ said Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., a New York-based national retail consulting firm. “It all ties back to the consumer.’’
-Little holiday sales cheer: Maryland retailers could see only a 2 percent increase in sales this holiday season, which would be the smallest gain in five years, according to the Maryland Retailers Association.
-Retail sales sputter in October: “This [sales report] is the worst performance in five years and we expect a further deterioration as consumers cut back in the face of soaring gas prices, falling stock prices and the continued disaster in housing,” Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist with High Frequency Economics, wrote in a note Thursday. “Already the past three months have been grim in general merchandise, furniture, electronics and clothing [sales]. The holiday season will be terrible,” he said.
-AnnTaylor Lowers Expectations: AnnTaylor Stores Corp. reported a 4% increase in fiscal third-quarter net income, but lowered earnings expectations due to worries over a weakening retail market.


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