May 15, 2012, 4:48 PM

Jewelry products lead a drop in April online sales

Jewelry sales fell 39%, as overall sales among 1,500 indexed web retailers fell 4%.

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April was a tough month for small and mid-sized online retailers, as their overall sales dropped 4.3% year over year and the number of transactions declined 7.6%, according to an index of small and mid-sized online retail businesses compiled by Dydacomp, which sells order management software.

Leading the sales decline was the jewelry category, where sales fell 39.4% and the number of transactions declined 22.3%. Year to date through April, online jewelry sales were down 20.9% over the same period last year, and the number of transactions decreased 27.3%.

Average order size for the jewelry category also fell sharply in April, by 22.0%, though it was up 8.7% for the year to date through April. The overall average order value for the index rose 3.5% in April and 5.5% for the first four months.

By comparison, the books category scored the only increase in April sales, at 17.5%, among the 15 categories measured by the index. The April sales increase for books supported a 18.0% increase in the category’s average order value, even though books experienced a slight 0.4% drop in the number of transactions. Year to date, books sales through April rose 22.3%, as the number of transactions rose 5.54% and average order value rose 15.9%.

Total year-to-date sales measured by the index rose 2.2% over the year-ago period.

The Dydacomp SMB Index, prepared for Internet Retailer, is based on data compiled from more than 1.7 million orders per month at more than 1,500 e-commerce operators across more than 15 product categories—accounting for more than $200 million in combined monthly retail sale; the retailers are users of Dydacomp’s order management software.

Following are the changes in gross merchandise sales across all retail channels for each product category in the index for April 2012 over April 2011, and for the year to date through April 2012 over the same period of 2011:

● Advertising Specialties/Promotional Items, -20.2%, -4.9%

● Auto Parts, -1.0%, 7.3%

● Books, 17.5%, 22.3%

● Clothes, -16.1%, -8.8%

● Consumer Electronics, -11.4%, -1.5%

● Educational Training Materials, -3.2%, -4.2%

● Food/Health, -0.7%, 4.0%

● Home Furnishings, -17.2%, -2.8%

● Jewelry, -39.4%,-20.9%

● Music/Video/DVD, -14.9%, -10.0%

● Sporting Goods, -2.1%, 8.1%

● Tobacco Products/Alcohol, -15.1%, -5.6%

● Tools/Hardware, -13.1%, -9.8%

● Toys, -11.7%, -1.4%

● Other, -6.9%, -3.5%

● Total, -4.3%, 2.2%

Following are the changes in the number of transactions across all retail channels for each product category in the index for April 2012 over April 2011, and for the year to date through April 2012 over the same period of 2011:

● Advertising Specialties/Promotional Items, -16.10%, -9.53%

● Auto Parts, 0.63%, 7.44%

● Books, -0.38%, 5.54%

● Clothes, -24.71%, -15.64%

● Consumer Electronics, -19.05%, -10.85%

● Educational Training Materials, -4.66%, -12.12%

● Food/Health, -3.36%, 0.31%

● Home Furnishings, -17.99%, -7.23%

● Jewelry, -22.28%, -27.27%

● Music/Video/DVD, -16.45%, -11.07%

● Sporting Goods, -16.49%, -6.71%

● Tobacco Products/Alcohol, -10.60%, -5.11%

● Tools/Hardware, -13.44%, -10.37%

● Toys, -8.58%, -5.22%

● Other, -4.21%, -3.58%

● Total, -7.56%, -3.15%

Following are the changes in average order size across all retail channels for each product category in the index for April 2012 over April 2011, and for the year to date through April 2012 over the same period of 2011:

● Advertising Specialties/Promotional Items, -4.89%, 5.09%

● Auto Parts, -1.57%, -0.16%

● Books, 17.94%, 15.85%

● Clothes, 11.46%, 8.15%

● Consumer Electronics, 9.47%, 10.49%

● Educational Training Materials, 1.56%, 9.02%

● Food/Health, 2.72%, 3.67%

● Home Furnishings, 0.95%, 4.75%

● Jewelry, -21.97%, 8.74%

● Music/Video/DVD, 1.81%, 1.26%

● Sporting Goods, 17.26%, 15.90%

● Tobacco Products/Alcohol, -5.05%, -0.48%

● Tools/Hardware, 0.39%, 0.64%

● Toys, -3.40%, 4.03%

● Other, -2.83%, 0.11%

● Total, 3.54%, 5.50%

Dydacomp notes that performance numbers in its SMB Index tend to be lower than broader e-commerce market figures because the index does not include growth at the largest online retailers. In addition, information in the index includes a small percentage of sales processed in stores and contact centers using Dydacomp’s order management software, and in many cases such sales are declining, the company says.

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