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Walmart’s Jet.com acquires Zappos competitor

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A new acquisition gives Walmart an even stronger foothold in the world of e-commerce.

Jet.com, which was purchased by Walmart in September for approximately $3 billion, has acquired online footwear retailer ShoeBuy for approximately $70 million. The purchase expands Jet.com’s footwear offerings, and gives Walmart more firepower in its battle against Amazon, which owns ShoeBuy’s main competitor, Zappos.

The deal closed on Dec. 30.

Called one of the first companies to sell shoes online, ShoeBuy launched online in 1999, around the same time as Zappos. It carries more than 800 brands and over 1 million items, including footwear for women, men and kids, along with clothing and accessories.

Similar to its acquisition of Jet.com, Walmart plans to retain ShoeBuy’s CEO Mike Sorabella, his executive team, and the footwear company’s 200-plus employees, all of which will remain at ShoeBuy’s Boston headquarters.

In addition, ShoeBuy will maintain its brand name, and continue to operate as a standalone site, augmenting Jet.com, Walmart said.

ShoeBuy suppliers interested in expanding their consumer reach have the option to also sell on Jet, Walmart added.

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Adobe: Holiday online sales ‘historic’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Holiday online sales surpassed predictions, generating $1 billion daily for the majority of a two-month period.

That’s according a study by Adobe Digital Insights, which aggregated data from 24.6 billion visits to the top 100 retail websites. The report said the 2016 holiday season (Nov. 1 – Dec. 31) brought in $91.7 billion in online sales, an 11% increase year-over-year, and 0.13% ($115 million) more than Adobe’s original prediction of $91.6 billion. Meanwhile, 57 out of 61 days this holiday season generated over $1 billion.

Mobile specifically brought in $28.43 billion in revenue, a 23% increase YoY ($19.26 billion from smartphones; $9.17 billion from tablets), driving 50% of visits (41% smartphones; 9% tablets), and 31% of purchases (21% smartphones; 10% tablets).

During this period, average shipping costs were $2.50 in 2016, compared to $2.60 in 2015, and reached a peak of $4.10 on Dec. 20. The lowest shipping costs this holiday season were on Thanksgiving ($1.60) and Cyber Monday (also $1.60). Sales increased toward the end of December, particularly around shipping cutoff dates, as consumers purchased later in the season and utilized options, such as click and collect in-store, the report said.

There was also strong social buzz this season. eBay was the most mentioned retailer on social with eBay sellers promoting their items for purchase and buyers highlighting products they bought that they couldn’t find in stores. Next in line was Amazon, Walmart, Target and H&M (from Dec. 1- Dec. 31). Pokémon Sun/Moon beat out Barbie as the top mentioned product followed by Oculus, Lego, PSVR and “Frozen” Toys.

“This holiday shopping season brought in a record $91.7 billion in online sales, which is just $115 million more than we originally predicted. But it’s not just the total online sales figure that made this a historic holiday shopping season,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director, Adobe Digital Insight.

“This year, Black Friday set a new record by surpassing the $3 billion mark for the first time at $3.34 billion, with high growth in the evening hours,” she added. “We also saw big gains in mobile spend, with Black Friday becoming the first day in retail history to drive over $ billion in mobile revenue. Electronics purchases, especially tablets, will spur even more online spend in 2017.”

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Report: Gadgets, robotic toys are best-sellers on Amazon this holiday season

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon set new records this holiday season, and its first-party sellers, especially those selling gadgets, are reaping the rewards.

Besides shipping more than 1 billion items worldwide the week following Christmas, Amazon welcomed 3 million new Amazon Prime members who signed up in the days leading up to Dec. 25, according to the retail behemoth.

These shoppers also made Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot, the voice-activated speakers which connect to Amazon’s intelligent Alexa Voice Service, the retailer’s best-selling items. However, the company’s first-party (1P) sellers that sell directly on Amazon.com also racked up sales. The most popular gift in December was the PlayStation 4 Slim video game console, logging 2.5-times more sales than other game consoles.

This was according to One Click Retail, which analyzes sales data among its brand manufacturer clients selling on the world’s top e-commerce platforms.

Overall, the top 10 most popular 1P gifts for December 2016 on Amazon were:

1. PlayStation 4 Slim 500GB Console – Uncharted 4 Bundle

2. Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Black, Large

3. Xbox One S 500GB Console – Battlefield 1 Bundle

4. Instant Pot 1P-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker

5. GoPro HERO5 Black

6. Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones

7. iRobot Roomba Vacuum Cleaner

8. Anki Overdrive Starter Kit

9. Keurig Coffee Maker

10. HTC VIVE – Virtual Reality System

If Echo and Echo Dot sales are any indication, the real star this holiday was gadgetry. For example, video gaming takes three of the top spots while Fitbit, GoPro, a Roomba and a set of Bose headphones all secure a place. The only true “toy” on the list is a gadget as well: the Anki Over-drive Starter Kit, a toy car set with a customizable racetrack that, once built, can be raced on by robotic cars controlled by the player via an app on their mobile device.

As expected, the toy category earned Amazon’s top product group during the 2016 holiday season, with medium growth to total $1.2 billion in sales. This was the first year however, that robotics dominated this group.

Sitting in second place behind Anki Overdrive is Anki’s Cozmo, the intelligent robot for kids. The only traditional, non-computerized toy in the top five is the party game, Watch Ya’ Mouth, in third place, followed by Bloxels in fourth, and the Osmo Genius Kit in fifth, One Click Retail reported.

The 2016 holiday shopping season may have marked Amazon’s busiest holiday shopping season so far, but now it’s time to look ahead.

“With continued expansions into Australia and elsewhere, the growth of their Prime Air fleet of drones and 767s, the introduction of Amazon Go stores in the US and the continued roll-out of private brands, 2017 is already shaping up to be the most exciting year in Amazon history,” the firm said.

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