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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1434 - December 18, 2006 - ISSN 1539-5065    3 of 4

A Merry Season for Online Retailers, Sales up 25 Percent

By Lissa McGrath
December 18, 2006

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Online holiday spending got off to a great start and has showed few signs of slowing down. In the first 45 days (from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15) sales are up 25 percent versus the same period last year, now totaling $19.48 billion, according to ComScore Networks.

Monday December 11th set a new record with $660.8 million being spent online in just that one day, but that record was then broken just two days later when sales on December 13th topped $666.9 million. Last year it was December 11th which held the record for the highest sales in one day with $556.2 million. ComScore Networks predicted that we would see the highest sales of the 2006 season sometime during last week, and since every day this week beat the 2005 season high by $60 million or more, that does not surprise me.

Chase Paymentech Pulse is, for the first year, tracking exact sales at ten of the thirty most popular online retail sites. Their data shows December 11th and 12th had significantly higher sales than last year.

ComScore Networks backs this up with their findings for this week. The following table shows each day and the corresponding amount of sales for 2006 versus 2005. When you look at the percentage change, bear in mind that the prediction for the entire 2006 season is a 24 percent increase in sales. Currently sales are up an average of 25 percent with spikes on days like December 14th and 15th (as you can see in the table).

Date 2005 Sales
(in millions)
2006 Sales
(in millions)
Percentage Change
December 11 $556.2 $660.8 19%
December 12 $554.4 $619.8 12%
December 13 $516.9 $666.9 29%
December 14 $477.4 $634.4 33%
December 15 $450.8 $623.9 38%
Source: ComScore Networks. Figures do not include travel or auction sales.

According to ComScore, the following table shows the top ten online retail sites (which are not necessarily the same sites tracked by Chase Paymentech Pulse). eBay is not included in this list so we cannot report where it currently ranks. Interestingly, the sites are not all strictly online companies. In fact, when you look at the second table (which shows the sales growth versus this period in 2005) many of the sites with the highest growth are merchants who also operate bricks and mortar stores.

Retail Site Ranked by 2006 Sales
Amazon.com 1
Dell.com 2
Yahoo.com 3
Wal-Mart.com 4
JCPenney.com 5
Ticketmaster.com 6
Apple.com 7
VictoriasSecret.com 8
BestBuy.com 9
CircuitCity.com 10
Source: ComScore Networks. 2006 data reported from Nov. 1 to Dec. 8

Retail Site Ranked by Sales Growth 2005 vs. 2006
BestBuy.com 1
Ticketmaster.com 2
Wal-Mart.com 3
CircuitCity.com 4
VictoriasSecret.com 5
Amazon.com 6
Yahoo.com 7
JCPenney.com 8
Apple.com 9
Dell.com 10
Source: ComScore Networks. 2006 data reported from Nov. 1 to Dec. 8

ComScore Networks also determined that it isn't just that there are more online buyers (which they predict to be up 17 percent from last year) but also, each online buyer is spending an average of 7 percent more. This sounds good for sellers who offer combined shipping and other incentives for buyers with multiple purchases.

While the actual amount purchased online by buyers from home versus work this year is fairly even, how this is different from last year's holiday season is quite significant. There is a 19 percent increase in purchases made from work, but a 30 percent increase from home buyers. This may make a difference in ending day and time strategies for auction sellers this holiday season versus what worked well last year.

Late season online shopping still seems to be going strong with online retailers offering guaranteed Christmas delivery for purchases as late as December 18th. This bodes well for eBay sellers taking advantage of the Get It Fast feature, and I can think of no better time of year to be using this option. Throw in gift services and I think eBay sellers will still have a lot of items to ship over this next week or so.

For more information about Chase Paymentech Pulse go to: http://www.chasepaymentech.visionmix.com/chasepaymentechgraph_dis.html?x=1

For ComScore Networks press releases go to: http://www.comscore.com/press/pr.asp
Lissa McGrath is a full-time freelance writer and the author of 20 Questions To Ask Before Selling On eBay (Career Press, 2006). She is also the copy editor of 6 other eBay related books. Lissa can be reached at lissa@lissamcgrath.com or through her website http://www.lissamcgrath.com.

About the author:

Lissa McGrath is the author of three eBay books, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to eBay" 2nd Edition (Alpha, 2010); "The Pocket Idiot's Guide to eBay Motors" (Alpha, 2008); and "20 Questions To Ask Before Selling On eBay" (Career Press, 2006). She is also the editor of eight other eBay books. You can reach Lissa directly at lissa (at) lissamcgrath (dot) com or through her website http://www.lissamcgrath.com.

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