November 26, 2010, 12:10 PM

Online shoppers help themselves to Thanksgiving Day deals

Mercent and ChannelAdvisor report strong results for retailers selling on Amazon.

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While waiting for the turkey to cook on Thanksgiving Day and after dessert, more consumers turned to their computers to shop online than ever before, according to IBM’s Coremetrics analytics unit, which gathers data directly from the web sites of more than 500 retailer clients.

Strong year-over-year, same-seller increases were also reported by Mercent and ChannelAdvisor Corp., two companies that help online retailers sell through online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay and marketing channels like paid search and comparison shopping engines.

Thanksgiving sales were up 33% compared to a year ago and the average order value rose 14.3% to $182.74 compared to $159.81 a year ago, says Coremetrics, based on its clients' data.

Moreover, consumers began shopping earlier in the day in 2010 versus 2009 and they sustained that stronger momentum throughout day.

“We’re of the mindset that consumers are buying online because of the convenience factor,” says John Squire, chief strategy officer, IBM Coremetrics. “Shopping online allows you while still at home or in your car.”

A year ago the majority of Thanksgiving online shopping was done later in day, with activity peaking at 2:30 p.m. EST. This year, however, consumers began shopping earlier, with significant activity throughout the morning Eastern time before spiking between 1:30 and 2 p.m. EST, says Squire.

“Retailers promoted Thanksgiving sales heavier than in the past which drove consumers to think about shopping both online and in stores,” he says.

Mercent reports 32% same-seller growth through all channels yesterday compared with Thanksgiving Day 2009, and 58% growth on Amazon. The report is based on about 75 retailers, almost all in the Internet Retailer Top 500, that have been selling on the Mercent platform for at least five quarters, says CEO Eric Best.

Best attributes part of the growth to retailers raising their budgets for paid search advertising and promotions on marketplaces like Amazon. He says many retailers were surprised by the strength of the online holiday season in 2009, and were better prepared this year with higher budgets and more inventory.

“In many cases our clients were more conservative with their advertising budgets in the third quarter to ensure that they had sufficient dry powder to support Christmas promotions," he says.

ChannelAdvisor says that the gross merchandise value for retailers selling in Amazon's marketplace on Thanksgiving Day exceeded its largest day in 2009.

Moreover, ChannelAdvisor reports 19.6% growth for its retailer clients selling on online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. And, in a sign that consumers were searching the web for bargains, paid search same-store sales jumped 58.9% and comparison shopping same-store sales increased by 23.0%, ChannelAdvisor says.

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