"The weekend storm on the East Coast will have a slight positive impact on E-commerce," writes Janney Capital Markets analyst Shawn Milne in a note to investors today. But most online shoppers are done: "A weekend day this late in the season is likely to be (around) 30-40%" of what shoppers spent on "peak days" since Thanksgiving, or around $300 million a day, vs $900 million at the peak.
Citing ComScore data, Milne estimates total online spending is up a modest 4% through December 1, with "top online retailers" up 10% while smaller retailers are posting declines. He notes Chase Paymentech estimates online spending is up more, as much as 15%. "Demand is ahead of plan" at ToysRus.com and a few other sites. But he concludes that margins will narrow as merchants spend more to beef up sites and inventories where maintenance was deferred in 2008-09.
Separately, MasterCard's SpendingPulse review of merchant credit and debit card records shows "since Black Friday, eCommerce growth is up 14.4%," while, in traditional retail stores, jewelry and luxury items are down 2%; women's apparel is down 2.6%; men's apparel is up 5.1%; footwear is up 4.9%; and electronics are up 4.4%.
Why are male categories (men's clothes, electronics) up, while women's (women's clothes, jewelry) down? And what's with all the shoes?
Oh, and: The National Retail Federation suggests, most wishfully, that people aren't shopping less this year, they're just shopping later.