Will Amazon Be This Year's Holiday Shopping Winner?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Despite the aggressive promotions and deals offered by Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT) and Best Buy (BBY), it looks like the winners this holiday season will be online retail giants Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY).

Amazon's same-store sales for the holiday period so far are up 39%, while eBay's same-store sales are up 20.9%, according to a ChannelAdvisor report, which defines the to-date holiday season as Nov. 28, 2013 through Dec. 15, 2013. ChannelAdvisor is comparing the period over last year's Nov. 22 to Dec. 8 period.

"At 39% [year-over-year] growth, Amazon is the most impressive result because of a good comp and they are already at impressive scale," wrote ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo in the report.

The report also examined same-store sales trends from consumers who look to Google's Shopping section, other comparison shopping engines (CSE) for their holiday gift ideas and price comparisons as well as using other search engines to shop.

Google Shopping saw same-store sales jump 127% from last year's period, the report estimated. Wingo wrote that Google Shopping "is the biggest gainer, but from a very easy comp last year which had less traffic from Google, fewer retailers/advertisers and much less selection."

That said, same-stores sales at eBay and from overall search functions both declined going into week three. "Looking back on last year, eBay had a decent Cyber Five, really hit stride more towards the middle/end of the cycle, so we are starting to have some headwinds in the data from that," Wingo wrote. "Search's decline is largely driven by traffic cannibalization to" Google Shopping.

The 2013 holiday shopping season is shaping up to be somewhat of a mixed bag, depending on which shopping tally one looks at.

ComScore estimated that holiday season U.S. retail e-commerce spending for the first 39 days of the November-December season rose 9% from 2012 to $31.5 billion. (The numbers are desktop spending only, not mobile.)

Yet despite heavy promotions at retail chain stores, December sales are in a "lull," according to Retail Metrics President Ken Perkins.

"Holiday sales data are providing a series of mixed signals suggesting that overall sales may be weaker than they actually are," Perkins wrote in a Dec. 14 note.

Perkins said he expects December same-store sales to rise 2.9% vs. 2.6% last year, in line with expectations over the last three months. However, October same-store sales hit 4%, while November same-store sales slumped, rising just 1.9% -- the weakest monthly comp since March, he noted.

"There is no question that certain segments of retail are under severe stress as they fight tooth and nail for every dollar by offering steep discounts, ramping up marketing spends, expanding price matching, implementing extended layaway programs, increased spending on IT to make their omni-channel shopping experience a pleasurable one for consumers, and beefed up staffing in some instances" as big-box chains as well as specialty retailers have been feeling the pinch as consumers shift their spending habits to home and home furnishings, autos and electronics, Perkins wrote.

Before the month is out, Amazon and the other online retailers have more share to capitalize on.

According to the latest National Retail Federation survey, last-minute shoppers this holiday season plan to finish making their purchases online this year, according to a Monday release. The survey polled 6,324 consumers between Dec. 2-9, 2013.

Approximately 49.9% of NRF survey respondents said they plan to do the remainder of their holiday shopping online, the highest percent in the survey's 11-year history, NRF said.

As of Dec. 9, prior to the most recent weekend, 32 million holiday shoppers had not even started shopping, NRF estimates. But approximately, 29.2% -- the largest percentage - plan to finish up their holiday shopping by Wednesday, Dec. 18.

As crunch time nears, retailers are doing all they can to grab shoppers.

Toys"R"Us said Tuesday that it plans to keep most of its stores open for 87 consecutive hours, beginning at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21 and continuing through 9 p.m. Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

The Wayne, N.J.-based company also said that orders placed online by 12 p.m. EST on Monday, Dec. 23, using express shipping are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve. Shoppers can also use the "Buy Online, Pick Up In Store" option through 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and collect their items in-store within an hour. Customers can also ship to a store near a loved one and they can pick up a sent purchase, the company says.

Kohl's (KSS) said earlier this month that for the first time ever it would extend its store hours for more than 100 hours straight -- beginning at 6 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 20 through 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

So once Christmas comes, is that it for retailers? Not so fast, said the trade organization.

The NRF survey found that 9.2% of respondents celebrating Christmas will go online to shop that day, up from 4.9% from when the NRF first asked the question in 2009.

Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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