January 4, 2013, 9:49 AM

Books spark a November sales jump of 12% for small e-retailers

Books led all categories with sales up 49% from a year earlier, Dydacomp says.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Lead Photo

Online sales rose 12.31% year over year in November, maintaining the pace set in October, among small and midsized retailers indexed by Dydacomp, a provider of order management software. Books blew away all other categories in the index at the start of the holiday shopping season with sales growth of 49.20%, followed by growth of 16.09% in sporting goods.

“The growth was driven by both an increase in the number of order transactions and an increase in the average order size,” says Fred Lizza, CEO of Dydacomp.

Book sales, with an average order value of $128.55, include sales in several specialty niche categories, Dydacomp says. “The nearly 50% jump in year-over-year growth in November sales for the books category was a surprising jump, although books have shown significant growth rates all year long,” Lizza says.  

Not surprisingly, sales of toys, which had been relatively week throughout the year, picked up in November as consumers took to holiday shopping. November toy sales rose 4.07% year over year, even though the number of order transactions declined 3.07%, resulting in a 7.60% rise in average order values.

In another holiday trend, the average order value for jewelry sales rose 90.55% to $572.30, even though the jewelry category continues to show sharp declines in both sales and number of orders.

The Dydacomp SMB Index, prepared for Internet Retailer, is based on data compiled from more than 1.5 million orders per month at more than 1,500 e-commerce operators across more than 15 product categories—accounting for about $250 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 November 2012, with the percentage changes over November 2011, and the change for the year to date through November 2012 over the same period of 2011:

● Advertising Specialties/Promotional Items, $0.88; -10.67%, -5.62%

● Auto Parts, $13.92; 9.72%, 9.33%

● Books, $49.60; 49.20%, 25.80%

● Clothes, $19.91; -5.28%, -3.51%

● Consumer Electronics, $8.39; -3.71%, -0.44%

● Educational Training Materials, $2.61; -13.82%, -0.51%

● Food/Health, $40.01; 3.59%, 4.85%

● Home Furnishings, $4.02; -13.82%, -3.11%

● Jewelry, $0.82; -17.45%, -24.86%

● Music/Video/DVD, $1.59; 14.15%, -7.38%

● Sporting Goods, $8.26; 16.09%, 24.53%

● Tobacco Products/Alcohol, $1.49; 6.58%, -0.98%

● Tools/Hardware, $2.79; -12.10%, -7.09%

● Toys, $33.75; 4.07%, -1.35%

● Other, $62.11; 16.62%, 10.59%

● Total, $250.13; 12.31%, 7.64%

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 for November 2012, with the changes in average order size over November 2011 and the changes for the year to date through November 2012 over the same period of 2011:

● Advertising Specialties/Promotional Items, $76.24; 1.41%, 4.45%

● Auto Parts, $248.88; 10.05%, 4.02%

● Books, $128.55; 25.97%, 15.60%

● Clothes, $104.40; -0.58%, 4.22%

● Consumer Electronics, $218.10; -3.80%, 2.89%

● Educational Training Materials, $139.49; -1.41%, -0.52%

● Food/Health, $120.68; 6.05%, 3.47%

● Home Furnishings, $132.17; -7.66%, -3.90%

● Jewelry, $572.30; 90.55%, 4.86%

● Music/Video/DVD, $125.88; 13.87%, 1.84%

● Sporting Goods, $154.54; 7.10%, 13.14%

● Tobacco Products/Alcohol, $109.96; -0.63%, -2.60%

● Tools/Hardware, $232.92; -6.25%, 0.87%

● Toys, $137.18; 7.60%, 0.15%

● Other, $127.70; 5.29%, 3.10%

● Total, $132.45; 7.71%, 4.72%

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

● Advertising Specialties/Promotional Items, 11,582; -11.92%, -9.64%

● Auto Parts, 55,919; -0.30%, 5.10%

● Books, 385,811; 18.44%, 8.83%

● Clothes, 190,695; -4.73%, -7.42%

● Consumer Electronics, 38,450; 0.10%, -3.24%

● Educational Training Materials, 18,711; -12.59%, 0.01%

● Food/Health, 331,543; -2.33%, 1.34%

● Home Furnishings, 30,428; -6.67%, 0.82%

● Jewelry, 1,431; -56.68%; -28.34%

● Music/Video/DVD, 12,625; 0.25%, -9.06%

● Sporting Goods, 53,421; 8.39%; 10.07%

● Tobacco Products/Alcohol, 13,584; 7.25%, 1.67%

● Tools/Hardware, 11,964; -6.24%, -7.89%

● Toys, 246,015; -3.29%, -1.50%

● Other, 486,344; 10.76%, 7.26%

● Total, 1,888,523; 4.28%, 2.79%

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.

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