What was the impact of the Olympics on e-commerce?

Recently in the July Same Store Sales report, I mentioned that we were getting a lot of questions around the impact (most folks assume negative) on e-commerce from the Olympics.  The usual argument goes that with folks around the globe focused on the two week event that only happens every four years, perhaps e-commerce suffered.

To look at this in detail, we compared the Olympic roughly two week period from July 27 to August 12 for 2012 to 2011 to compare apples to apples for 2011 (non-Olympic year) to 2012 (Olympic year).  We then put in the June, July datapoints as reference and came up with the following data:


Here are our channel-specific observations:

  • eBay – slightly below July trend, but a < 3% delta is attributable to natural causes such as days of the week in the consideration set.
  • Amazon – Amazon was off the July 44% trend by 7.7% which is a bit more of a blip than eBay
  • Search was off 4.4%, probably not material
  • CSE declined 1.1%, again a negligible difference.

Overall Olympic Conclusions

In a perfect World, we’d have a better control set where we had a pure ‘no Olympics’ data set and a ‘with Olympics’ dataset.  Based on what we’re seeing, we don’t think there was a material impact caused by the Olympics.

In conclusion, while an interesting hypothesis, we don’t see any material evidence that supports the ‘Olympics caused an e-commerce slowdown’ theory.

SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long Google and Amazon. eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.