Going by the estimates recently announced by ComScore, "Cyber
Monday" is pretty hot. ComScore sees a 20% increase in Cyber
Monday sales from last year, which will have it touching $1.5
billion for the first time. This, however, doesn't beat the 26%
increase in online sales on Black Friday.
And guess which company has done its homework best, laying the
groundwork to tap this potential? Yes, it's online retail giant
). The company has gone all out to build its digital offerings
(e-books, music and video), which appears to be the
hottest-selling category this season. Its Kindles will also do
well, despite strong competitive offerings from
). Amazon will also have a limited-period deal on its Kindle
today, to ensure a little extra boost.
Hot on its heels is traditional brick-and-mortar retailer
), which has prepped for the holiday season in its own way: with
an improved online sales platform, a better assortment, new
return policies and new deals for the season. The company's
online store is a hot spot for game sales, and preliminary
results for Black Friday indicate that the segment did not
Best Buy Co.
) was third on Black Friday. The company's online sales are on
the rise and the current quarter is expected to benefit from new
releases (iPhone 5, Win-8, iPad Mini, and Wii U). The gross
margin could bear watching, however, since many of these consumer
electronics items and smaller-screen TVs mean lower margins for
Nobody's talking about
), because it is itself a marketplace and not exactly a retailer.
However, eBay's timely mobile promo saw PayPal generating a 173%
increase in customers and 193% increase in mobile payment volumes
on Black Friday.
The Consumer Electronics Association has published strong
numbers for the holiday season (dollar spending to be up 11%
versus last year), with consumer electronics gifts topping
consumer wish lists. Smartphones are clearly ahead of the pack,
followed by tablets, notebooks and DVD/Blu-ray players.
But unlike in the past, we're looking at smarter shoppers now,
two-thirds of which will be comparing prices online, 41% using
mobile devices to check online prices while in the store and 28%
hunting down promos on social networking sites such as
At the moment the segment is, however, not such a good place
to put your money. All these companies have issues: Amazon is
investing tons in its overseas business, Wal-Mart's employees are
taking it to task while the government is thinking of removing
some tax breaks that would adversely impact the company, Best
Buy's margins appear to be wearing thin, while Apple could be
losing its touch.
Best to go with a company like eBay, which is in a turnaround
phase sporting a solid payments platform, the potential of which
is not fully priced into the shares. That's the reason the Zacks
Rank on eBay shares is #2 (Buy rating in the next 1-3 months),
while both Wal-Mart and Amazon are ranked #3 (Hold) and Best Buy
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