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January 14, 2015 08:00 am EST

Bigcommerce Releases Quarterly Ecommerce Report on State of the Small and Mid-sized Online Retail Industry

AUSTIN, Texas — January 13, 2015 — Bigcommerce, the ecommerce platform of choice for fast-growing brands, today released the findings of its latest Quarterly Ecommerce Report, an index of quarterly sales data from small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) selling online in the U.S during October to December 2014. For Q4, independent ecommerce businesses saw a massive 34% average increase in sales led by breakout performances from consumer electronics as well as beauty, bridal and fashion categories -- all of which benefited from consumers flocking online for holiday purchases.

Holiday Shopping Booms for Independent Retailers
With more than 20% of all U.S. online spending taking place in November and December1, the fourth quarter is a critical period for ecommerce businesses. For U.S. SMBs selling online, this year’s “Cyber Five” holiday shopping weekend, spanning Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday, represented nearly 12% of all sales for the quarter. Sales volume on Cyber Monday, the single largest shopping day of the quarter, also tripled that of the top sales day for Q1. In 2014, retailers processed 24% more orders during Cyber Week with stores averaging 27% higher revenues than in 2013.

Consumer electronics, the single largest ecommerce category, was the top-performing industry for the fourth quarter, bolstered by a massive 41% increase in per store sales and 19% increase in average order value. The beauty, bridal and fashion industry also remained a popular category for fast-growth online businesses, illustrated by a 27% increase in per-store sales as compared to the same period in 2013. Growth in both sectors is fueled by the holiday shopping period as well as a shift to find better prices online by comparing different retailers.

Other categories that saw significant growth during Q4 include:

  • Outdoors and health merchants experienced continued momentum in Q4 fueled by fitness-related holiday gifts and U.S. consumers’ renewed interest in a health-focused lifestyle. Online businesses in the category saw a 18% average increase in YoY sales and 3% increase in average order value.
  • For the second consecutive quarter, lifestyle and home stores performed above category averages highlighted by a 45% increase in per-store sales as compared to Q3 and a 73% average increase in YoY sales. Online merchants in the category benefited from soaring consumer ecommerce spending which accounted for more than 40% of total purchases for the majority of shoppers2.

Mobile Ecommerce Rises for Independent Retailers
During Q4, shoppers buying from independent online retailers used a mobile device to complete 30% of purchases, while merchants received 25% of their total revenue through tablets and smartphones. With the majority of brick-and-mortar stores closed during Christmas Day, ecommerce is increasingly important for last-minute gifts and many business owners have seen an uptick in purchases. According to merchant data, 37% of shoppers used a mobile device to complete a purchase on December 25, 2014, which is twice the amount of mobile purchases on Christmas Day in 2013.

Los Angeles, Austin and Chicago Top List of Best U.S. Cities for SMBs
Bigcommerce also unveiled the top ten U.S. cities with the best-performing online businesses, based on aggregate sales and purchasing volume. Topping the list is Los Angeles, followed by Austin and Chicago. Similar to last quarter's data, consumers in New York, Houston and Chicago were home to the most active ecommerce shoppers among small and mid-size businesses.

To view the full Bigcommerce Quarterly Ecommerce Report, including a list of top cities for SMBs, visit: https://www.bigcommerce.com/ecommerce-report/2014-Q4/index/

1 National Retail Federation. “Holiday Survival Kit.’ Web. Jan. 2015.
2 National Retail Federation. “Gift Giver Plans to Splurge On Friends, Family This Holiday Season.” Oct. 2014. Web. Jan. 2015.