Retail Commerce Continues to Move to the Online Channel in the US

ecommerce, retail spending, dailydealmedia.comOnline retail spending touched $43.2 billion according to comScore’s U.S. retail e-commerce sales estimates for the second quarter.

This performance represents a growth of 15% over the last year. The company says e-commerce as a category remains strong, even though the second quarter performance couldn’t sustain the high growth rate as witnessed in the previous quarter.

Online retail spending was reported to be $44.3 billion in the first quarter. The second quarter performance is welcome news. When the first quarter estimates were out, comScore had mentioned that the industry the performance was marked by year-over-year growth rates in the high teens. And such growth hadn’t been registered since 2007.

At the same time, the company said owing to factors such as economic uncertainty and high unemployment rate, it would rather opt for a cautious route for its projections for the remainder of the year.

According to comScore, the main online product categories included Digital Content & Subscriptions, Consumer Electronics, Flowers, Greetings & Gifts, Computer Hardware and Apparel & Accessories.

Each of these product categories rose by at least 16% compared to the previous year. In the first quarter, each of the top categories grew by 17% over the previous year. As indicated earlier this year, e-commerce has already reached critical mass in several product categories.

The economic recovery hasn’t picked as desired. But commerce continues to move to the online channel, and savvy retailers need to identify ways to be part of this growth.

Source: http://www.dailydealmedia.com/78retail-commerce-continues-to-move-to-the-online-channel-in-the-us/ By 

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Black Friday Sales Hits Record, Retail traffic and Foot-falls up.

Preliminary reports for Black Friday indicate that retailers may have seen their strongest sales ever during the all-important kick-off to the holiday shopping season.

black friday sales

Retail sales on Black Friday climbed 6.6% this year to an estimated $11.4 billion, according to ShopperTrak, which tracks foot traffic at malls and stores. Last year, sales climbed just 0.3% to $10.7 billion, which was a record one-day sales amount at the time, according to the company.

“This is the largest year-over-year gain in ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate for Black Friday since the 8.3 percent increase we saw between 2007 and 2006,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. “Still, it’s just one day. It remains to be seen whether consumers will sustain this behavior through the holiday shopping season.”

However, sales have been strong throughout the entire month of November with retailers rolling out holiday deals earlier than ever. In the two weeks leading up to the week of Black Friday, retail sales were up 3.6% and 3.8%, respectively, ShopperTrak reported.

“Retailers continue to stretch out Black Friday weekend by enticing shoppers with doorbuster deals weeks in advance,” said Martin.

Online sales have also proven to be strong, with many big-box retailers and department stores offering deals online earlier this year.

Black Friday online sales surge 24%

Online sales were up 39.3% on Thanksgiving Day and 24.3% on Black Friday compared to the same days last year, according to IBM’s (IBM,Fortune 500) Coremetrics, which tracks real-time data from 500 retailers in the apparel, department store, health and beauty and home goods categories.

“This year marked Thanksgiving’s emergence as the first big spending day of the 2011 holiday season with a record number of consumers shifting their focus from turkey to tablets and the search for the best deals,” said John Squire, chief strategy officer at IBM’s Smarter Commerce division.

Consumers also spent slightly more than they did last year, although they spent most of that money on themselves. According to NPD Group consumers spent about 3% more on purchases during Black Friday. However, about 44% were self purchases up from 33% last year, the research group said.

Retail traffic on Black Friday up 2%

Total US visits to the top 500 Retail websites increased 2% on Black Friday as compared to 2010 and received more than 173 million US visits. Traffic has increased each day leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday and the total visits dipped slightly (-1%) on Black Friday compared Thanksgiving Day 2011. Early Black Friday sales resulted in a shift of online traffic, which climbed prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, however, continued heavy promotional activity helped to drive significant online traffic on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. While Black Friday has been the top day for online retail traffic over the past two years, warm weather and early store openings encouraged shoppers to go online sooner this season.
DMS Retail 500 11-25-2011.png

Among the categories driving the growth in traffic on Black Friday were Department Stores (e.g. Amazon and Wal-Mart) Apparel & Accessories, Appliances & Electronics (e.g. Best Buy) and Video & Games (e.g. Game Stop).
DMS Retail Categories 11-25-2011.png

Below is a list of the top visited retail sites on Black Friday:
DMS Retail 500 Sites 11-25-2011.png

Many of the major retail websites experienced growth on Black Friday, including Amazon, Best Buy, JC Penney, Sears and Kohl’s. Amazon.com was the most visited website on Black Friday for the 7th year in a row.

Wal-Mart CEO doesn’t see a quick end to recession

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The head of Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), the world’s biggest retailer, said on Wednesday there remained a “lot of stress” in the economy and he did not anticipate a quick end to the recession.

“There’s still a lot of stress,” Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke said on a taped interview on NBC’s “Today Show.”

“It’s not a ‘V’ recession, where we’re just going to bounce out and come back,” he said.

Duke’s comments aired a day after a government report showed that sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly fell 1.1 percent in March and after Wal-Mart last week reported a lower-than-expected rise in March sales at U.S. stores open at least a year.

Also on Wednesday, Burger King Holdings Inc (BKC.N) said it faced an “unanticipated traffic slowdown” in March across most company-owned hamburger restaurants, while the government said U.S. consumer prices fell unexpectedly last month, recording their first annual drop since 1955, as slumping demand pushed down energy and food costs.

The reports have dimmed hopes that the U.S. recession is close to hitting bottom, and show consumers are keeping a tight grip on their wallets. In early trading, Wal-Mart shares gained 10 cents to $51.22.

Duke said that by the end of the month, just before traditional paydays, customers are left with only a few dollars to spend.

He said the downturn will lead to a “sustained change” in the way that families live. But he added that customers are buying electronics, like flat screen TVs or video game systems, as they cut back on entertainment outside of the home or scrap vacation plans.

Separately, Wal-Mart’s China unit said it will eliminate one management layer of its stores in China to improve efficiency, affecting up to 1,400 people.

The retailer, which has 147 outlets in China and employs more than 50,000, will offer affected employees the option to move to new stores or take other positions with lower salaries.

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

Amazon profit doubles on sales of electronics

Amazon.com, the world’s largest Internet retailer, reported that its second-quarter profit more than doubled as a jump in sales of electronic items combined with a rise in overseas revenues as the cheap dollar made products cheaper for customers outside the US.

The retailer, which also benefited from a $53 million gain from the sale of some European DVD rental assets, defied the weakening US economy to report a $158 million profit for the period, although the sales growth was driven by sales abroad.

Furthermore, Amazon said that sales could reach $20.1 billion for the year, slightly ahead of the maximum prediction of $20 billion earlier in the year. The retailer expects full-year profits of $745 million to $920 million.

The second-quarter profit, which equated to $0.37-a-share, beat analysts estimates by $0.11, and compared to $0.19-a-share profit income a year earlier. The group’s overall revenues increased by 41 per cent to $4.06 billion. Meanwhile, international sales rose by 47 per cent to $1.89 billion. Without the impact of the weak dollar, overseas revenue grew by 34 per cent.

So-called media sales, which comprise items such as books, CDs and DVDs, rose by 31 per cent to $2.41 billion across the group, while electronics and general merchandise recorded a 58 per cent jump to $1.53 billion.

Scott Devitt, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus, described the results as being “good, very solid”.

Amazon may also be benefiting from the soaring cost of petrol, according to Dan Geiman, an analyst at McAdams Wright Ragen.

“They’re still doing extremely well [despite the economy]. If gas prices are high, customers are less likely to hop in their cars and head down to the Barnes and Noble or a department store.”

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, also seemed pleased with the results.

“Customers continue to take advantage of our low prices, free shipping and Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime membership costs less than a tank of gas – more and more customers are joining the programme and enjoying its benefits.” Prime Membership offers free two-day shipping of items for an annual fee.

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