US online sales jump 16.5% on Christmas Day versus last Dec. 25, 37% year-over-year for Friday through Sunday before Christmas, based on website activity at more than 800 US retailers, reports IBM Smarter Commerce
December 27, 2013
(Investor's Business Daily)
– Christmas Day E-Com Up 16%
ComScore sees 10% e-tail rise through Sunday, but it projected 14% for season
U.S. online retail sales this holiday season once again outperformed offline retail, though reports were mixed as to whether online sales would meet projections of 14% to 15% growth.
Late Thursday, market tracker ComScore said U.S. online sales were up 10% Nov. 1 through Sunday. While that's far ahead of offline retail growth, ComScore has forecast 14% growth for November-December. And Forrester Research has forecast 15% growth.
But U.S. online sales jumped 16.5% on Christmas Day vs. last Dec. 25, says IBM Smarter Commerce, an e-commerce unit of IBM ([STOCK[IBM]]) that tracks the websites of more than 800 U.S. retailers. The IBM unit says year-over-year sales rose more than 37% for the Friday-through-Sunday before Christmas.
The number of online orders among 70 retailers tracked by e-commerce services company ShopVisible from Nov. 1 through Wednesday rose 13% vs. the year-earlier period, with revenue rising 15% in that span.
Total U.S. retail spending this holiday is tracking up 2.4% to 3.9%, depending on the source.
Online sales maybe were a little too good. Some orders were not delivered before Christmas because a higher-than-expected volume of late-season orders overwhelmed delivery companies UPS ([STOCK[UPS]]) and FedEx ([STOCK[FDX]]). Goods bought online at Amazon.com ([STOCK[AMZN]]) and Wal-Mart ([STOCK[WMT]]) were among the late deliveries.
Overstock.com ([STOCK[OSTK]]) says about 200 customers didn't receive orders by Christmas because of the shipping backups, and company representatives contacted those customers on Tuesday and Wednesday to explain, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne told IBD.
Byrne says the delivery glitches should not affect future holiday e-commerce business, though not everyone was appeased.
"There were two angry customers," Byrne said. "They had both ordered perfume, so presumably you can't give your girl perfume after Christmas."
Bad weather also hurt deliveries, UPS spokeswoman Natalie Black told Reuters on Wednesday. UPS projected 132 million deliveries last week "and obviously we exceeded that," Black told Reuters, without disclosing a figure.
Amazon said it would refund shipping charges for all late deliveries and give those affected $20 gift cards.
'Decent Holiday Season'
The numbers indicate that the cybersales growth engine remains intact, says Will Devlin, senior marketing manager for ShopVisible.
"It was a decent holiday season overall for our clients, and that is pretty much in line with what we have seen from other reports out there," Devlin said.
Mobile devices accounted for nearly half of all online traffic on Christmas Day, a record, says Jay Henderson, strategy director for IBM Smarter Commerce.
"As people winded down their conversations with family, they pulled out their mobile devices and were thinking about what items they might return, or were looking for some post-Christmas deals," he said.
More than 1 million consumers worldwide signed up for Amazon.com's Amazon Prime loyalty program in the third week of December, the No. 1 etailer said Thursday. For $79 a year, Amazon Prime provides free two-day shipping and other perks.
"The entire 2013 holiday season was the best ever for Amazon," the company said in a release.
Traffic growth at online seller Overstock.com is up 10% this holiday season, which CEO Byrne says equates to bigger growth.
"That is fine for us because we are getting more revenue out of each visitor," he said. "We are getting better conversions and a higher average order size."
Sales at Wayfair.com, an online retailer of home goods, jumped 50% from Nov. 1 through Christmas Day vs. the year-earlier periond, says CEO Niraj Shah.
"It wasn't a great holiday season for everybody, but I think you're going to see that e-commerce was the stand-out success," Shah said.
NoMoreRack.com also reports a big holiday season, with sales of $144.1 million from Oct. 15 through Dec. 25, up 180% from the year-earlier period. Its Christmas Day sales rose 108% to $762,651, says company CEO Deepak Agarwal. "The holiday shopping season was extremely strong for us," he said.
(c) 2013 Investor's Business Daily, Inc