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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2170 - November 30, 2009 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 4

eBay, PayPal and Industry Data: Holiday Ecommerce Spending Mixed

By Ina Steiner
November 30, 2009

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Ecommerce holiday spending is up 3% to date, and Black Friday online sales was up 11% year-over-year, according to ComScore. ShopTrack said offline spending on Black Friday was up a mere 0.5%. And the National Retail Federation said that while more people were shopping (online and offline) over the Black Friday shopping weekend, they spent less this year than last.

Looking at the data coming in, it seems it's no slam-dunk for holiday retail sales this year, online or offline. The National Retail Federation said, "every retailer wants to be a discounter," and that seems to be a key variable this year that will impact total spend.

PayPal, eBay and Amazon Holiday Sales
The official start of the 2009 holiday shopping season was November 16, 2009, according to PayPal, which said it saw 28% more online payment volume than that of a typical Monday. The online payment service saw a 25 percent year-over-year increase in global payment volume on Thanksgiving Day 2009, and a 20 percent year-over-year increase in U.S. transactions on Black Friday 2009. These are not same-store (or same-seller) figures, important to note given PayPal's off-eBay expansion. PayPal mobile payments jumped 140 percent on Black Friday 2009 compared to that of an average Friday.

eBay has not yet released Black Friday sales data, but it published an interactive graphic plotting the one-million-plus transactions it facilitated on eBay.com on Friday. (See, "eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map" on the AuctionBytes Blog.)

Likewise Amazon.com has not released sales data, but online channel-management platform Mercent released interesting sales figures of its third-party merchants selling on Amazon. Same-seller GMV (gross merchandise volume) increased 78% on Thanksgiving day relative to 2008, and increased 56% on Black Friday relative to 2008. Those figures cannot be extrapolated to Amazon.com as a whole, but is a positive indicator.

ComScore Says Online Holiday Spending Is Up 3%
comScore said ecommerce spending for the first 27 days of the November - December 2009 holiday season reached $10.57 billion, a 3% increase versus the corresponding days last year. Black Friday (November 27) saw $595 million in online sales, making it the second heaviest online spending day to date in 2009 and representing an 11-percent increase versus Black Friday 2008. The full report is available online.

ShopTrak Says Offline "Black Friday" Spending Is Up 0.5%
Black Friday spending in retail stores showed a slight 0.5 percent increase versus the same period in 2008, according to ShopperTrak, which said spending totaled $10.660 billion as compared to $10.606 billion on Black Friday 2008. (Sales on Black Friday 2008 had increased 3 percent versus Black Friday 2007.)

NRF Says "Black Friday" Weekend Spending Is Down
The National Retail Federation (NRF) said more people were shopping in stores and online over the holiday weekend, but said shoppers spent less this year than last. According to NRF's Black Friday shopping survey, conducted by BIGresearch, 195 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected spending for Sunday), up from 172 million last year. However, the average spending over the weekend dropped to $343.31 per person from $372.57 a year ago. Total spending reached an estimated $41.2 billion.

One-quarter of Americans shopping over the weekend (28.5%) were shopping online. And according to a survey conducted for the NRF's Shop.org by BIGresearch, 96.5 million Americans plan to shop on Cyber Monday this year, up from 85 million in 2008. Of those Cyber Monday shoppers, 3.8 percent will shop from a mobile device such as an iPhone or a Blackberry.

Shoppers' destination of choice over the past weekend seemed to be department stores, with nearly half (49.4%) of holiday shoppers visiting at least one, a 12.9 percent increase from last year. Discount retailers took an uncharacteristic back seat, with 43.2 percent of holiday shoppers heading to discount stores over the weekend and another 7.8 percent heading to outlet stores.

"In an economy like this one, every retailer wants to be a discounter," said Tracy Mullin, NRF President and CEO. "Department stores have done an admirable job touting both low prices and good quality, which are important requirements for holiday shoppers on a budget."

The survey, conducted Nov. 26-28, 2009 by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation, polled 4,985 consumers and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.4%.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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