U.S. Data Report: Champions No More – The Losers of 2018
eCommerce is growing. In the U.S., 10% of all sales occur online. But despite substantial growth at large, not all retailers are having great success. In 2018 Jumpshot data showed that there were distinct winners and losers in online shopping. Category-specific players like Chewy and Wayfair made powerful improvements last year, doubling their online purchases as they found specialized sectors to thrive in. On the other side of the spectrum, Toys R Us and Sears struggled in both online performances and with their brick-and-mortar stores. In the full Retail Winners, Losers and Amazon Data Report for 2018, Jumpshot provided detailed stats from a diverse range of retailers in a large range of different categories.
Using the transaction data gathered using Jumpshot’s Insights tool, we looked at declining retailers Jet and Barnes and Noble for 2018.
For Jet.com, 2018 was a year of gradual heartache and decreasing transaction volume. The company, which debuted in 2014, embarked in the eCommerce essentials battle with Amazon and Walmart, promising its consumer low prices and fast shipping on all things imperative for the modern shopper. At its launch, Jet was the new kid on the block, giving the competition a run for its money with clever commercials and personalized shopping-cart-based advertising.
However, since Walmart purchased Jet in 2016 for $3.3 billion, Walmart has appeared to concentrate on assimilating their resources and talent, rather than allowing Jet to build a distinct identity which set them aside from their rivals. Rather than Jet continuing to compete with Walmart, the company has been used as a pivot for Walmart to penetrate urban areas. Walmart gave Jet.com a complete overhaul in an attempt to maximize profit in areas where the parent company had been less than successful, like New York.
Over the holiday season, Jet ads were nowhere to be seen with the company showing a decline rather than a boast, meanwhile, Walmart had a successful Black Friday, growing year-over-year. From 2017 to 2018, Jet.com saw a huge decline in sales in the vital retail months of November and December, dropping from over 400k in 2017 to 210k in November 2018 and just over 165k in December 2018. Annually, Jet has seen a slump in online sales with a 57% decline year-over-year.
Walmart has intentionally reduced advertising for Jet.com and the effects can be seen in the transaction volume. Conversions have gone from 6.3M in 2017 to 2.7M in 2018. Jet seemed primed for progress in busy metropolitan areas, but, Amazon continues to dominate, with more than 70% market share of online transactions across a dozen categories.
Don’t Call It A Comeback
Jet was not the only eCommerce retailer to post declines in 2018. Barnes and Noble has avoided bankruptcy unlike its former competitor, Borders, but that does not imply the company is showing growth year-over-year as a steady online merchant. As the world becomes more and more digital, ebook readers are becoming the trend, yet, not all readers are sharing success.
While Barnes & Noble’s Nook offers competitive improvements like longer battery life and an innovative content discovery application named B&N Readouts, the Amazon Kindle is faster, easier to use, and has access to a larger selection of titles with the success of Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Additionally, the market has been flooded with several ebook apps that allow consumers to purchase without a reader; audiobooks have likewise expanded in the retail world and can be accessed from a smartphone or tablet.
While Barnes and Noble has tried to stay afloat in the book business and evolve with the changing contemporary consumer, their efforts are making little progress on their online market share and growth year-over-year. Annually, transactions on the Barnes and Noble website are down 9%, dropping from 16M in 2017 to 14.5M in 2018. May was the toughest month for the retailer in 2018; transactions were down 20% year-over-year. December 2018 proved more successful, as transactions increased 2% YoY, perhaps in response to the retailer’s creative national ad campaign. Historically, Q2 is a difficult quarter for Barnes and Noble. Transactions in Q2 dropped 17% YoY as opposed to 8% in Q3 and 12% in Q1.
Barnes and Noble has attempted to curb its decline in transactions by increasing its paid search traffic through Google. Paid search traffic for the retailer is up 95% year-over-year, with December 2018 being the highest count at 4.5M as the retailer attempted to compete for the market share during the holiday season.
Can Jumpshot Help?
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