August 17, 2012, 4:04 PM

Book sales shine in July for small web retailers

Online sales of books and educational materials rose 24% in July, Dydacomp reports. Sporting goods are close behind, up 19% year over year in July.

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Books and educational materials showed the strongest growth in online sales in July among small and mid-sized retailers indexed by Dydacomp, a provider of order management software. Following close behind were sporting goods. 

Online sales of books and educational materials rose 24% year over year in July, continuing a strong trend that has the category’s sales up 23% through the first seven months of this year compared to the same period of 2011, Dydacomp says.

Sporting goods are also up 23% for the first seven months, with July sales up 19% over July of last year. “This may be partly driven by seasonal buying,” Dydacomp CEO Fred Lizza says. He notes that online sales of sporting goods were up a relatively modest 15% in June over the same month last year. 

Clothing is among the largest product categories showing the weakest sales, down by just over 10% year over year for July and for the first seven months.

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 about $200 million in combined monthly retail sales; the retailers are users of Dydacomp’s order management software.

Following are the dollar volumes in gross merchandise sales (in millions) across all retail channels for each product category in the index for July 2012, with the percentage changes over July 2011, and the change for the year to date through July 2012 over the same period of 2011:

● Advertising Specialties/Promotional Items, $0.93, -16.58%, -31.94%

● Auto Parts, $14.37, 6.94%, 4.65%

● Books, $29.88, 17.92%, 19.57%

● Clothes, $15.09, -10.08%, -10.54%

● Consumer Electronics, $7.56, -5.75%, 0.36%

● Educational Training Materials, $2.07, 1.88%, 3.29%

● Food/Health, $28.17, -2.59%, -0.99%

● Home Furnishings, $2.89, -9.32%, 1.35%

● Jewelry, $0.82, -19.07%, -19.12%

● Music/Video/DVD, $1.15, -9.15%, -9.13%

● Sporting Goods, $9.75, 0.01%, 6.16%

● Tobacco Products/Alcohol, $0.95, -20.83%, -11.10%

● Tools/Hardware, $1.69, 2.55%, -8.32%

● Toys, $28.92, -0.37%, 1.93%

● Other, $54.05, 16.25%, 0.53%

● Total, $198.30, 4.78%, 2.03%

Following are the average order values across all retail channels (including contact centers and a small number of physical stores that use Dydacomp’s software) for each product category in the index, with the changes in average order size for June 2012 over June 2011, and the changes for the year to date through June 2012 over the same period of 2011:

● Advertising Specialties/Promotional Items, $72.53, -13.72%, 20.09%

● Auto Parts, $232.98, 4.88%, 1.98%

● Books, $124.20, 14.53%, 16.00%

● Clothes, $113.14, 1.19%, 6.46%

● Consumer Electronics, $241.68, -2.05%, 5.70%

● Educational Training Materials, $152.72, -11.08%, -0.55%

● Food/Health, $113.77, -5.29%, 0.39%

● Home Furnishings, $152.21, -14.31%, -3.00%

● Jewelry, $367.59, -5.09%, 9.87%

● Music/Video/DVD, $107.13, -6.11%, 1.40%

● Sporting Goods, $172.70, 18.30%, 12.06%

● Tobacco Products/Alcohol, $94.16, -8.71%, -5.38%

● Tools/Hardware, $187.71, 9.19%, 2.24%

● Toys, $143.89, -6.90%, -3.78%

● Other, $126.33, 4.03%, 0.46%

● Total average, $134.23, 1.64%, 3.89%

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

● Advertising Specialties/Promotional Items, -3.32%, -43.32%

● Auto Parts, 1.96%, 2.62%

● Books, 2.95%, 3.08%

● Clothes, -11.14%, -15.96%

● Consumer Electronics, -3.78%, -5.05%

● Educational Training Materials, 14.57%, 3.86%

● Food/Health, 2.85%, -1.38%

● Home Furnishings, 5.83%, 4.48%

● Jewelry, -14.73%, -26.39%

● Music/Video/DVD, -3.23%, -10.39%

● Sporting Goods, -15.46%, -5.27%

● Tobacco Products/Alcohol, -13.28%, -6.05%

● Tools/Hardware, -6.08%, -10.33%

● Toys, 7.01%, 5.94%

● Other, 11.75%, 0.07%

● Total, 3.09%, -1.79%

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. All figures are based on comparable-store sales, meaning that the figures pertain only to store and web sites in operation for at least a year for consistent year-over-year comparisons.

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