Marketplace sellers fare well on Amazon in November, and even better on other shopping portals

December 11, 2015 06:00 AM

Cyber Monday landed in November this year—it fell on Dec. 1 in 2014—and that made a notable difference in monthly same-store sales performance for ChannelAdvisor Corp. clients. Inc.’s marketplace sales for those ChannelAdvisor retailer clients increased 22.9% in November 2015 compared with November 2014. But when comparing the periods of Nov. 1-30, 2015, to Nov. 2-Dec. 1, 2014, both of which include Cyber Monday, the increase is 17.2%, says ChannelAdvisor. Calculating same-store sales according to those dates offers a more accurate snapshot of the sales period, according to ChannelAdvisor, whose online marketing services include facilitating retailer clients’ sales on web shopping portals like Amazon, eBay and 50 others in the United States and abroad.

The Monday after Thanksgiving has become the biggest online shopping day in the U.S., with $3.118 billion in sales this year, up 20.5% from $2.586 billion on Cyber Monday 2014, according to comScore Inc.

Sales on marketplaces that are not Amazon or eBay grew 59.7% in November when compared with the period that includes Cyber Monday 2014, according to ChannelAdvisor. These other marketplaces that ChannelAdvisor supports include those operated by Sears Holdings Corp., Best Buy Co., Newegg Inc., Japan-based Rakuten Inc. and U.K.-based Tesco PLC.

Some of these marketplaces are making big gains because they are operated by omnichannel retailers—those that sell through many physical stores as well as online—that have strong brands and do a lot of holiday promotion, ChannelAdvisor executive chairman Scot Wingo says. “Before (these retailers) added marketplaces, customers had a very limited assortment/selection.  Adding third-party marketplaces has exploded the selection, and customers are responding very favorably, creating outsized growth for these players. They are essentially replicating Amazon's strategy, but about eight years later, but it is working quite well,” he says.  

Google Shopping sales—mostly resulting from the Product Listing Ads that include images and appear prominently on Google search results pages—rose 27.3%, while sales on eBay Inc. increased 2.6%, when comparing the periods that include Cyber Monday, ChannelAdvisor says.

EBay’s same-store sales continue to lag e-commerce growth.  But Wingo says the marketplace could get a boost in December if hot holiday gift items are in short supply, because items that have sold out online and in stores often end up on eBay. “For example, the popular Star Wars BB-8 from Sphero retails for $149. As they go in and out of stock at retail, I've seen them spike to $250.”

But a surge in scarce products may not be enough to counter eBay’s “contrarian” promotions that highlight unique items not available elsewhere, Wingo says. Precious metals are an example: eBay early on Thursday heavily promoted lots of 100 American Silver Eagle coins. “I'm not a fan of this strategy as I think you are alienating a big chunk of the (approximately) 200 million eBay shoppers, but as you can see from the listing, they have sold 2,097 of these things.” By late Thursday afternoon, the 2,110 lots of the coins were sold out, with the last price listed at $1,730.

Ebay Motors (parts and accessories) “bucked the trend of other eBay components and came in in-line with e-commerce for November at 17.6% compared to October’s 15.5%. EBay Motors P+A continues to be the bright spot in the eBay (same-store sales) results, growing fastest of all the eBay components and in-line with e-commerce,” Wingo wrote in a blog post.

Comparison shopping engine results logged 0.8% growth in the periods that include Cyber Monday for ChannelAdvisor clients. 

When looking strictly at November year-over-year results, which measures 2015 performance against 2014, when Cyber Monday was in December, the increases were as follows:

  • Amazon marketplace sales increased 22.9%.
  • Sales on marketplaces that aren’t Amazon or eBay increased 81.2%.
  • Google Shopping sales were up 42.4%.
  • eBay sales increased 5.6%.
  • Comparison shopping engine results increased 6.3%.

ChannelAdvisor also released same-store sales data for the first week after Thanksgiving, Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2015, compared with Dec. 1-7, 2014. It finds:

  • Amazon marketplace sales increased 17.2%.
  • Sales on marketplaces that aren’t Amazon or eBay increased 37.5%.
  • Google Shopping sales were up 17.6%.
  • eBay sales increased 2.8%.
  • Total same-store sales, across channels, were up 10.9%.
  • Comparison shopping engine results decreased 2.7%. 



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