FINANCE

eMarketer: Back-to-school drives $50 billion in summer e-commerce sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Shoppers spent $50.17 billion online during the 2014 back-to-school shopping season, which represents a 16% gain from $43.26 billion in the year-ago period, according to eMarketer. Online commerce during the months of July and August — the main months for back-to-school shopping — accounted for approximately one-sixth of retail ecommerce sales for the year, according to eMarketer estimates, as well as 70.5% of retail ecommerce sales in third quarter 2014.

Combined with the holiday shopping season, which in past years has accounted for nearly 25% of the year’s retail ecommerce sales, eMarketer estimates, these two nationwide shopping sprees will provide a much-needed boost to U.S. retailers, totaling more than 40% of the year’s ecommerce sales during just one-third of the calendar months.

In the core product categories most commonly purchased for back-to-school, including apparel and accessories, books/music/video, computers and consumer electronics, office equipment and supplies, and toy and hobby purchases, EMarketer estimates a 16.5% increase in retail ecommerce sales to $27.38 billion from $23.51 billion in 2013.

Some of the fastest-growing US-based e-commerce retailers in apparel, electronics, discount retailers and department stores also benefit from back-to-school sales. For example, stores like Wal-Mart and Target that sell products across the board for back-to-school have seen well over 20% growth in ecommerce revenues during the trailing 12 months, while electronics stores like Best Buy and Hhgregg, as well as mass-market department stores such as Belk, Macy’s and J.C. Penney, are also increasing their e-commerce revenues at a healthy clip year-over-year.

Apple is by far the most productive among core back-to-school product category retailers, selling on average $4,472 worth of merchandise per square foot in the past 12 months, according to EMarketer. However, Lululemon Athletica came in second by this metric, with sales per square foot significantly lower (but still significant) at $1,778, while membership warehouses PriceSmart and Costco were the only other two companies in these categories to clear an average of $1,000 in sales per square foot across their portfolios in the past 12 months.

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A.C. Moore, Lion Brand Yarn Company & Vanna White to raise funds for children’s hospital

BY CSA STAFF

Beginning Sunday, Sept. 28 through Saturday, Oct. 4, A.C. Moore Arts and Crafts will partner with Lion Brand Yarn Company and Vanna White, a Lion Brand spokesperson for more than 20 years, to donate 10% of sales from all Vanna White yarn lines to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Across its 139 locations, A.C. Moore will offer special pricing on Vanna’s Choice, Vanna’s Choice Baby, Vanna’s Tapestry and Vanna’s Palettes yarns. Through this initiative, the partners guarantee a minimum $10,000 donation.

Lion Brand and Vanna White are long-time donors to St. Jude. In February of 2013, they presented the hospital with a $1 million check, a donation collected through a portion of sales from Vanna White’s signature yarn lines, which launched in June of 2007. To date, Lion Brand and Vanna White have donated more than $1.3 million to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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FINANCE

Euclid: August sales indicate strong back-to-school season

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – August 2014 sales results indicate the 2014 back-to-school period had a significant boost to shopping activity. According to new data from in-store retail analytics provider Euclid, traffic increased substantially compared to the previous month, aided by temperate weather and multi-year highs in consumer confidence.

In addition, healthy economic conditions and generous promotions benefitted shopping and contributed to highly engaged visits to the brick-and-mortar store. Euclid asserts that its metrics illustrate a positive outlook for industry revenues, and estimates year-over-year sales growth of 4% in general merchandise, apparel, furniture and other (GAFO) retail sales, 5% growth year-over-year in clothing and apparel sales, and 3% growth year-over-year in general merchandise sales.

Here are some of Euclid’s top findings in the August report around shopper behavior metrics:

  • Shopper traffic declined 3% compared to the same month in 2013, but rose 7% compared to July. Back-to-school shopping brought many consumers back to the brick-and-mortar store.
  • Storefront conversion was up 2% year-over-year due to highly targeted shopping and deal hunting.
  • Average duration increased 13% from last year. Consumers are feeling the benefits of rising asset prices and improving labor market conditions, and as a result retailers saw more engaged shoppers who are willing to spend.
  • Repeat visits decreased 1% year-over-year, dropping to a low for the year as consumers accomplished more back-to-school shopping in fewer trips.

The best shopping day of August was Thursday the 28th. Outperformance was experienced across all metrics on the 28th, with especially favorable numbers for duration, engagement, and bounce rate. This day benefited from a surge in activity to prepare for Labor Day weekend. On the other hand, Tuesday the fifth was the worst shopping day of the month. Low traffic coupled with abnormally high bounce rates marked this day and likely led to sales underperformance.

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