Conversations & Insights December 1, 2015

L2 Insight: Thanksgiving Winner and Losers

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So who were winners and losers over Thanksgiving weekend in retail?

It could best be described as winner and losers—basically, Amazon and everybody else. Retail is getting crushed this week.

As the digital share of the retail pie gets bigger, search visibility is increasingly important.

Think of search is the biggest window in the world of online Macy’s—it’s where everybody starts, or about a third of people start their product searches with search.

Over the holiday L2 tracked category search for the top Big Box players and Amazon.

We found that Amazon scored the highest in paid search visibility for almost every holiday product category.

In Consumer Electronics, Amazon and Walmart had the highest paid visibility, while category specialists Best Buy and Hhgregg fought for fourth place.

In Sporting Goods, Amazon led Sports Authority on Thanksgiving Day, briefly slipped to second place on Black Friday, returning to the top spot on Cyber Monday.

For Toys and Baby, Amazon and Target took the top spots. Toys “R” Us - which topped organic visibility - languished in fourth place. Talk about a brand that has fallen from grace.

If you’re noticing a theme here, yes, it’s Amazon and the seven dwarfs.

What is going on here?

Paid search is not as much a skill set as it is deep pockets. You can buy your way to happiness on Google. And with a $315B market cap, and a stock up 105% this year, no retailer has ever had this much cheap capital for this long as Amazon.

The result? Their ROI hurdle for things they do is lower than other retailers. They never got the investment community hooked on the crack cocaine of profits, and as a result, they can play in traffic where others don’t dare to go.

This means they can do things nobody else can do—they have more chips to lay down on more numbers—they are going underwater with the largest oxygen tank of capital forcing other retailers to follow them and other retailers are beginning to drown.

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