Holiday e-sales to be down high single digits

Bambi Francisco Roizen · December 1, 2008 · Short URL:

But Amazon, eBay, as shoppers turn to the Web for discounts

 With 25% to 40% of most retailers' sales conducted during the holiday shopping season, 2008 may turn out to be a pretty grim year.

More than a third of shoppers said they've completed their holiday shopping, according to the National Retail Federation.

And, online retail spending declined 4% in the first 28 days of November, according to comScore. 

JP Morgan analyst predicted that holiday sales will be down high single-digits.

But as shoppers cut back their spending, they're also looking online for bargains at Amazon, eBay, and Nearly half of all respondents to JP Morgan's shopping survey said they plan on shopping at Amazon.

Here's the latest prediction from JP Morgan analyst Imran Khan.


We think overall holiday spending could be down high-single digits to low-double digits Y/Y. 44% of respondents plan to cut their spending this holiday season. Those who plan to spend less expect to cut their spending by an average of 41%. Only 12% expect to spend more on holiday shopping this year, and they plan to up their spend by 51%. People are cutting both value and quantity: 22% of respondents plan to give less expensive gifts, 22% plan to give fewer gifts, and 26% expect to do both.
We think holiday spending on eCommerce will be roughly flat Y/Y in 2008. We asked people who shop online whether they expected to spend more online this holiday season. 30% of online shoppers expect to spend less online, while 32% plan to spend more, with the remainder, 39%, expecting their online spend to remain about the same.
Amazon emerging as the clear leader in US eCommerce. Nearly 50% of respondents plan to shop at this holiday season, and Amazon’s reach is 39% higher than its nearest competitor. Amazon continues to pull in very high percentages of users earning more than $100K, with 59% of shoppers in that income category saying they had shopped there; no other site’s reach among that group was above 33%. and catching up to large online-only stores. In ’07, the two largest online-only stores, Amazon and eBay, drew business from more online shoppers than any other sites we asked about. For the ’08 holidays, our survey reveals no significant change in Amazon and eBay’s reach, compared to double-digit increases in the number of shoppers planning to use and, the two biggest sites of brick and mortar stores; the only other site in our survey with a statistically significant Y/Y increase was
Price is the key. Nearly half of shoppers said price was the #1 factor in choosing an online store, and 91% ranked it within the top five. Selection ranked second, and older shoppers were more drawn by familiarity or experience with a store. Of the options we offered, the least popular one, by a wide margin, was, “recommendations from friends and relatives.”
Younger people tend to shop online more, and use online classifieds more. Among online shoppers, over 40% of those aged 18-41 expect to do more than 40% of their holiday shopping online this year. Among those aged 42+, the respective number was 27%. Likewise, 40% of those aged 18-41 reported having bought on a classified site such as Craigslist, vs. only 21% of those over 42. 

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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