Amazon Still A Winner Amidst Softer Online Sales This Holiday Season

Amazon's holiday shopping 2013

According to comScore report on Holiday shopping, Online US holiday sales are up 10%, but running short of expectations, bringing the season's total to $42.8 billion from desktop services. In the same period last year, holiday sales stood at $38.9 billion. Things appeared to be trending in the right direction at the start of the season when Cyber Monday broke the record for the biggest online spending day ever in the U.S. with sales of $1.735 billion. While Thanksgivings day registered the highest growth in the season at 21%. However towards the end of the holiday season, online retailers witnessed a decline in sales, with no billion dollar sales day occurring in the last week of the holiday season. In total, 2013 holiday season saw 10 days with more than $1 billion spending, down against last year’s total of 12 individual days. To quote Fulgoni from comScore -
“In the end, I think we’ll look back at this online holiday season as one where absolute dollar sales gains in consumer spending were held back by heavy retailer price discounting that occurred in an attempt to stimulate consumer demand, while at the same time, consumers weren’t willing or able to increase their spending rate to fully compensate for the six-day shorter shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

2012 2013 % Change
Holiday season to date (thru Dec 22)* $38,912M $42,750M 10%
Thanksgiving Day (Nov 28, 2013) $633M $766M 21%
Black Friday (Nov 29, 2013) $1,402M $1,199 15%
Cyber Monday (Dec 02, 2013) $1,465M $1,735M 18%
Green Monday (Dec 09, 2013) $1,275M $1,401 10%

2013 Holiday Season to Date Vs corresponding shopping days* in 2012
Non-travel (retail) eCommerce spending
Excludes auctions & large corporate purchases
Total U.S. - home & work desktop computers
Source: Comscore Inc.

Top Gaining products this holiday season

Despite softer than expected sales, we saw a shift in product preference by consumers this year. The trending product category for 2013 was video games consoles, most likely spurred by the release of latest versions of Xbox by Microsoft and Play-station by Sony. It was surprising shift in consumer interest, since video games sales stood at 5th position last year. This is likely to instigate interest in the video consoles going forward and make the markets competitive. Apparels and accessories came next, followed by customer electronics, computer hardware and Home Garden. Consumer electronics saw a shift down, from second to third position this year which might be a warning for upcoming Q4 results for companies in the industry.

Rank Top gaining product categories
1 Video game consoles & accessories
2 Apparel & accessories
3 consumer electronics
4 COmputer hardware
5 Home & garden

Top 5 gaining product categories by sales growth for Holiday season-to-date
Nov 1, 2013 to Dec 22, 2013 Vs corresponding days in 2012
Total U.S. - home & work desktop computers
Source: comScore Inc.

Online merchandise Delivery Failure in 2013 Holiday Season

Retailers aggressively pushed demand by offering discounts and increasing the limits on how late consumers could order. This drove volumes high towards the end of the season. Amazon & UPS together failed to deliver the gifts before Christmas which infuriated many customers. Bad weather during the weekend and the short holiday calendar this year caused the delivery crunch. However, Amazon offered gift cards and refunds to its disappointed customers while UPS offered to return shipping costs.

Amazon: The Winner this Holiday Season

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has nothing to complain for and has enough reasons to celebrate these holidays. The company’s online growth this holiday season was the best ever in its history. On Cyber Monday Amazon set the record with more than 36.8 million total items sold online, which comes up to unbelievable 426 items per second up against 26.5 million items sales in 2012. Amazon Prime, the company’s service which offers free two-day shipping on items, clocked more than 1 million new members in the third week of December reaching a total of 20 million Prime members. The company does sell almost everything and given Amazon’s competitive edge, and dominance over the ecommerce market Amazons continues to benefit on the top line. And we have seen before, it’s the top line the drives Amazon’s stock price and not the earnings, Amazon’s price may soar again to new highs, defying gravity as analysts’ expect a good fourth quarter results for 2013.

However, at AmigoBulls, we prefer stable profit making companies which have given very handsome returns to investors. You can see our stock picks here.

To see Amazon’s latest stock price movement, click here (NASDAQ:AMZN)

Neena Lakhmani Neena Lakhmani   on Amigobulls :

Neither Amigobulls, nor any members of its staff hold positions in any of the stocks discussed in this post. The author may not be a certified/registered investment advisor, and the opinions expressed should not be treated as investment advice.

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