So Far, So Good For Retailers This Holiday Season

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

With so much depending on the trajectory of the US retail holiday season, a bevy of new consumer shopping measures have been released. E-commerce retail appears to be having an especially strong year. First, the Chase Paymentech Cyber Holiday Pulse index, measuring the top 50 e-retailers, noted some dramatically good news:

For the five-day period beginning on Black Friday, the Pulse Index, which tracks sales and transactions for 50 top e-retailers, indicated a dramatic 37 percent increase in transactions and a 30 percent increase in sales over the same period last year. On Tuesday, when many Cyber Monday purchases actually settled, the Pulse Index set a single-day record for both transactions and settled sales.

Different metrics sources also showed positive results on both side of the Pond:

U.S. online sales rose 16 percent on Cyber Monday, topping $1 billion for the first time, spurred by free shipping deals and discounted prices, ComScore Inc. said. Sales reached $1.03 billion, Gian Fulgoni, chairman of Reston, Virginia-based ComScore, said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

British shoppers will spend 265 million pounds ($413.7 million) making internet credit card purchases today, on what is likely to be the busiest online shopping day of the year, according to Visa Inc. As many as 2,600 transactions will take place every minute on so-called ‘mega Monday,’ boosting the day’s year-on-year spending by 5.5 percent, the credit-card company said in a statement.

Not to be left out, the mobile sector of online commerce appears to be growing quickly as well with growing consumer comfort in using the channel:

eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) shoppers went mobile on Cyber Monday, increasing U.S. mobile commerce sales 146 percent year over year, with California, Nevada, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida leading the way as the top mobile commerce shopping states. Mobile shopping peaked between 5 pm and 7 pm PST. The strong growth in mobile holiday shopping reflects increasing consumer adoption of mobile commerce, with eBay mobile expecting to generate more than $1.5 billion in gross merchandise volume in 2010, compared to $600 million in 2009.

A survey of mobile shoppers in the U.S. conducted for eBay by SmithGeiger LLC shows that over half the people who regularly shop using their phones are comfortable spending over $100 on a mobile purchase, with 14 percent willing to spend over a thousand dollars. On average, according to the survey, mobile shoppers spend over $100 per month on mobile purchases. Earlier this year, an eBay shopper purchased a Mercedes-Benz for $240,000 using their mobile phone.

On the broader retail front, MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report for November noted continued improvement in apparel sales, while consumer electronics remained a weak sector so far this year:

Year-over-year Total Apparel sales in November saw another sharp monthly increase. At 9.6% this was the largest year-over-year growth in 2010 for that sector following the previous record in October. Total apparel has enjoyed 8 out of 11 months of year-over-year gains so far in 2010. In November, all of the sub-sectors posted year-over-year growth.

For the second consecutive month, the Consumer Electronics and Appliances segment posted a year-over-year decline, although at -1.1%, it was not as severe as October’s decline. The Consumer Electronics sub-category was down by 1% while the Appliance sub-sector fell by 1.6% year-over-year.

The SpendingPulse Luxury ex-Jewelry Index, which encompasses sales at high-end restaurants, food stores, department stores and general apparel categories, posted positive results in November, although not as robust as October, growing 1.6% year-over-year. While mixed results in the financial markets put pressure on the sector, relatively easy comparisons with last year’s performance helped keep the growth rate positive.

So for retailers, this is shaping up to be a good year if the momentum holds. For the beleaguered credit card industry, the key questions are how much volume will end up on credit cards, and how much will ultimately revolve and rebuild assets outstanding.

See original articles at:

Chase Paymentech Cyber Holiday Pulse Index Reveals Record Volume over the Shopping Weekend

Cyber Monday: Online retail sales up in the USA & UK

eBay® U.S. Mobile Commerce Sales Jump 146 Percent on Cyber Monday

SpendingPulse November 2010 Retail Report: November’s Solid Gains Provide Firm Start to the 2010 Holiday Season