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Sun Nov 29 2009 11:20:16

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay published an animated graphic that shows "Black Friday" sales plotted on a map of the United States. The 1,027,807 U.S. transactions are displayed on the map with two dots per transaction - one for the seller and one for the buyer. The visualization is based on raw data that includes eBay sales occurring on November 27, 2009 in approximately 33,000 U.S. ZIP codes, which were grouped to create 3,118 distinct areas. You can mouse over any point to see the specific number of buyer and seller transactions that occurred in a given area. 

The animated map and details are found on eBay's Black Friday page. The map does not reveal GMV (dollar sales) for Black Friday, nor does it reveal previous years' results to give it context - I'm still waiting eBay's press release that promised more data - it was due out yesterday afternoon. 




It's interesting to note that last Thanksgiving day (November 27, 2008), there was approximately $50 million in Gross Merchandise Volume sold on eBay.

Facing some problematic traffic trends this year, eBay has ramped up its promotional efforts in recent weeks, including television advertising, a travelling "mobile boutique" and a pop-up store in New York city. eBay's Vice President of North America Marketing Greg Fant explained the thinking behind the company's holiday marketing campaign in this November 12th AuctionBytes article.

Too early to know the effect on traffic, but the efforts are getting eBay some press. Bloggers liked the Black Friday graph despite the lack of context. And CNN, headquartered in Atlanta, aired a piece about the eBay mobile boutique when it arrived in CNN's hometown.

Here are some holiday-shopping figures from PayPal:
  • PayPal said the official start of the 2009 holiday shopping season was November 16, 2009, when it saw 28% more online payment volume than that of a typical Monday.
  • PayPal saw a 25 percent year-over-year increase in global payment volume on Thanksgiving Day 2009.
  • PayPal saw a 20 percent year-over-year increase in transactions on Black Friday 2009 (compared to 34 percent increase from 2007 to 2008). (Update: these Black Friday figures are U.S.-only.)
  • PayPal mobile payments jumped 140 percent on Black Friday 2009 compared to that of an average Friday. Since the official start to the holiday season on November 16th, PayPal mobile has seen more than half a million transactions.
  • PayPal said historically, 12:00 P.M. and 1:00 P.M. are the busiest online shopping times over the holiday season.
And some additional factoids about online and offline holiday shopping:
  • 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.)
  • Nearly 90% of Americans polled will be using the Internet for shopping/researching and more than 70% will use it to purchase gifts, according to Yahoo's "12 Weeks of Christmas" consumer survey conducted by Decipher, Inc. in October (survey results).
For some outside-the-box thinking about holiday shopping figures, see Robert Farago's blog post, "The Price is Wrong: Black Friday E-Commerce Traffic Takes a 15% Tumble." Of course, the trend of discount pricing goes beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday - retailers and marketplaces have been putting downward pressure on pricing all year with their focus on the secondary market.




Comments (54) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: honeybunch

Sun Nov 29 11:47:52 2009

Interesting.  The link to RF's blog shows a table of the 20 most visited websites on Thanksgiving.  Walmart and Amazon at the top, and eBay didn't even make the list?  Zoiks.

We're not even talking sales here, just traffic.  I'm really surprised by that.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: honeybunch

Sun Nov 29 12:08:11 2009

What's also interesting is the 1,027,807 transactions figure.

Since eBay's average selling price has dropped (I think it's somewhere around $26? Someone with the latest info correct me, please), does that mean eBay may have sold only $27 million on Black Friday this year, as compared to the $50 million sold last year on Thanksgiving Day?

To compare apples to apples, though, does anyone have last year's Black Friday GMV for eBay?

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: Patricia

Sun Nov 29 12:09:53 2009

I heard on the news this morning that the top three online sites on black friday were Walmart.com, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com - ebay was not mentioned.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: Franci

Sun Nov 29 12:32:36 2009

In the tiny print at the bottom of the chart that carries the statistics on the top 20 it says that neither auction houses or classified are included in the research...so neither eBay nor Craigslist are in the mix.

You can see the top 20 in the blog linked in Ina's story in the last paragraph.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: On Lies and Secrets

Sun Nov 29 14:58:01 2009

That is an interesting visualization of transactions.  I am not sure how this visualization works to appeal to buyers, but it is an interesting curiosity.  When you move your cursor over the map, a pop-up displays the number of buyers and sellers.  In most of the mouse-overs that I saw, there were more sellers than buyers (in some cases significantly more).  What this indicates to me is that there are more individuals listing on ebay these days than buying there.  Therefore any site policies that are perceived as anti-seller have more negative impact to their users overall.  Perhaps this is why the ebay corporation has been so surly towards sellers - to drive them away (which has been a longstanding argument presented by many).  What this map doesn't show is how many unique buyers and sellers there are - many sellers have multiple selling IDs.  It is also not clear to me how people who buy and sell from the same account are counted (I both bought and sold on my main ebay account).  So, it is hard to know how they are counting things or what they mean.  The buyer numbers look unimpressive to me at a causal glance.  The visualization is kind of cool even though I have no idea exactly what the graphic is representing....

I saw part of the segment on ebay boutique that aired on CNN recently.  When the camera panned out to display the structure, the ''boutique'' looked like a singlewide trailer to me.  The CNN commentator seemed very well briefed and carefully tried to explain to viewers what that trailer was all about (the commentator had to explain that ebay was an online venue, but that were tangible products on the trailer that consumers could try out and then buy online).  The CNN commentator did a great job explaining that ebay was composed of a number of individual sellers and that buyers were transacting with the individual sellers.  However, the ebay employee who was being interviewed seemed surprisingly inarticulate to me and also seemed under dressed and was not particularly engaging or personable.  From my perspective, the ebay trailer attendant should have been doing a lot more to generate interest in that interview.  IMO, the whole ebay mobile trailer thing is too confusing to consumers and completing a transaction on ebay is hard enough as it is...

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: On Lies and Secrets

Sun Nov 29 15:13:20 2009

In looking at the auctionbytes original post, I was struck by the differences in how data was being was being reported between ''ebay'' and ''paypal''.  The paypal reporting presented comparative statistics and solid numeric data, yet the ''ebay'' reporting was a poorly labeled map that was difficult to interpret.  The map really should have much better labels than it does....

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Nov 29 15:33:20 2009

Lights! Camera! No action.

But lots of pretty lights, though.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: J.G.

Sun Nov 29 16:22:02 2009

One wonders whether this map is more 'smoke and mirrors' as On Secrets and Lies pointed out with the difference in Paypal reporting vs. eBay reporting.  It is a great graphic tho.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: J.G.

Sun Nov 29 17:49:11 2009

Just saw that online sales are up 41% in general YOY for Black Friday, according to Merchent ecommerce figures (on Earth Times). It seems to me it would thus be a strange occurence to see eBay figures down for the this year's Black Friday. But why would eBay trumpet Paypal accomplishment and ignore eBay's?

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Nov 29 18:20:46 2009

Anyone are to take bets that ebay's traveling campers are stocked full of electronics, DVDs, etc. that can be found on five dozen retail sites and probably for less money?

Why wouldn't ebay stress the unique items on the site along with the electronics? It's the unique items that sets ebay apart from the cookie cutter sites.

Does anyone know whether this traveling carnival is STEERING potential buyers to select ebay sellers?

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Nov 29 18:27:23 2009

Steering could be carefully stocking items in their cyber campers that ebay knows that Seller A has the best price for.

Ebay would have this information because Seller A colluded with ebay to offer the lowest price in exchange for ebay steering the customer by having that particular item to show potential customers in their cute little cyber campers.

Anyone not selling electronics, toys, etc. could be SOL in the ebafia medicine shows.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Nov 29 22:31:17 2009

Off topic but ebay's response on one of the charitable gift checkoffs could answer question that George W. Bush asked:

"Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?"

And his soulmates, the semi literates in San Hosed, responded with:

"I want to help Young Storytellers Foundation increase kid's literacy skills and have eBay match my donation."

This snippet does, however, illustrate ebafia's casual disregard for or unfamiliarity with the proper use of apostrophes and maybe even decimal points...

And don't forget, boys and girls, that PayPal is

"The world’s most-loved way to pay and get paid."

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: On Lies and Secrets

Mon Nov 30 00:32:18 2009

As Ina has noted, it does appear that ebay is conducting a flurry of activities in its seasonal attempts to get traffic to the site, but taken as a whole, these activities seem disjoint and ineffective to me.

The television ad campaign has an insipid slogan that doesn't seem to be tied in any way to the other promotional activities. There was a ''flash'' sale for model trains from a single seller (to 'reinvogorate' collectibles?).  There is some new 'Fashion Vault' initiative for selected sellers of designer merchandise where the designers/items appear to be chosen on a random basis.  This 'Fashion Vault' promotion seems like an attempt to  mimic a private shopping club which seems bizarre to me because the ebay brand doesn't carry the cache to attract the kind of buyer who shops that way. There is the Tiger Direct promotion with a miniscule discount and many strings (high minimum purchase price and must pay via paypal).  I really don't see the point of that ugly trailer going to bigger cities where shoppers can already go to several brick and mortar electronics stores to look at merchandise.  

I see a lot of different promotional activties going on, but they don't seem to be working together in any kind of cohesive way. IMO, ebay management is simply mimicking the activities of successful ventures without the benefit of having their own strategy to guide and coordinate their efforts.  IMO, you can't simply copy a few of the outward activities of other companies and expect to meet with their success.   To me, it looks like a bunch of shallow, half-hearted attempts by ebay management to give the appearance of looking busy without exerting any real effort or providing any genuine commitment to a plan of action that would result in positive change.  IMO, ebay executives are 'play acting' as managers without understanding what they are supposed to be doing at a fundamental level.

In the recent letter sent to sellers who were harmed by the two day system failure, Norrington apologized for 'disrupting' sellers' businesses.  A couple years ago, she and Donohoe were **bragging** about how they planned to intentionally disrupt sellers' businesses and they had the nerve back then to call their 'disruption' a form of innovation.   IMO, the ebay corporation is suffering from a void of leadership and sound management.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: Marvin

Mon Nov 30 05:32:00 2009

The map is a ''Who are you going to believe? ebay or your lieing eyes map '' that actually shows the sell through rate on ebay to be less than 3/10th of a percent. The map data shows for every 10,000 items listed on ebay on Black Friday only 30 sold.

A week ago when their site crashed ebay said they had 200 million listings. OK, then lets assume no knew listings have been placed just to be safe. Since ebays own site says their map is a ''. . . visualization of all U.S.-based buyer and seller transactions on eBay for Black Friday. Let's analyze.

If out of 200,000,000  listings there were only 1 million transactions and since half of those have to be buyers then less than 0.3% of all items listed on ebay sold on Black Friday? (if the 200 million figure is higher the % sold will be lower)

It also proves something else. Putting a spin on the truth is more important to ebay than fixing problems. The effort and manpower that went into making this map could have been used improve their site operation

WHY IS EBAY DELAYING TO RELEASE MORE DATA?
1. They are monitoring the internet to see if anybody has figured out what they have done.
2. The numbers are so bad presenting them in a way that looks good is proving a somewhat difficult task.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: JG

Mon Nov 30 11:53:44 2009

Thank you Ming and On. I think eBay is not going to release sales figures until after Amazon and others do so they can know how bad or good things are and spin with this knowledge. I also studied the map and found that as one commenter said -- sellers outdid buyers in most of the locations, but in California, LA and SF did double or triple buyers over sellers, as did NY with double buyers over sellers.  Thanks, Ina, for keeping us well posted.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: J.G.

Mon Nov 30 11:55:42 2009

I meant to thank Marvin too with the two salient points at the end of his comments.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: Buck Efay

Mon Nov 30 12:24:29 2009

Ebay is mimicking evrything successful corporations do, except creating traffic & sales. Good job, Donnyho. Is it time to disrupt Mr Disruption yet? I'd say early termination of CEO for cause is the kind of disruption I could get behind.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: It's the sellers, stupid

Mon Nov 30 13:11:38 2009

I wonder what a graph of Black Friday's NPBs looks like?

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Nov 30 15:33:07 2009

If most of us didn't know already from first hand experience, we now know for sure how sales went over the long weekend for The Dons of ebafia.

Participants in the ebay bucks program have received an email from ebay today giving them double bucks for today only.

Imagine that! DOUBLE EBAY BUCKS! I'll try not to spend my 37 cents in one place.

Since ebay does nothing that doesn't serve its self interest, I think it's safe to say that this weekend was another sales disaster for the Disruptive Geniuses who'd better wear kevlar vests to the next Board meeting.

DEATH to ebay corp. in 2009 brought to you by John Donahoe and Lorrie Norrington.

eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map   eBay Plots 1 Million Transactions on Black Friday Map

by: On Lies and Secrets

Mon Nov 30 15:52:10 2009

In the business reporting of the day, it appears that Amazon is the belle of the ball - Marketwatch has the headline, ''Amazon relishing its role as e-commerce king.'' Also, Marketwatch is reporting that Amazon shares have hit an all-time high. In business news, the big winners of the holiday shopping game appear to be Amazon and Apple. I think ebay shares are also up, but business news reporting isn't mentioning much about the company except for the fact that the ebay corporation has apparently been fined $2.6 million USD by a French court for violating an injunction from selling certain luxury goods on the site (from Reuters).

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