E-Commerce Stocks Gain Amid Data Showing Surge in Online Sales

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Shares of e-commerce companies rallied on Wednesday after new retail data showed that online shopping continued to dominate consumer purchases last month.

E-commerce purchases jumped 29% in November, compared with the same period a year ago, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. It was the seventh-consecutive month of growth that exceeded 20%, and represents the biggest monthly increase for e-commerce since at least 2010, Retail Metrics analyst Ken Perkins said. Shopify Inc. gained as much as 8.4% and EBay Inc. rallied 5.4%. Etsy Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. rose at least 2%.

E-commerce continues to “dominate the retail landscape,” Perkins wrote in a research report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to avoid enclosed shopping areas, and the record number of Covid-19 and related deaths have “pushed consumers to contactless transactions in record amounts,” he said.

The data is likely contributing to e-commerce stocks outperforming department stores, whose sales plunged 19% in November, compared to the same period a year ago, according to Mizuho’s Michael Dick, managing director of U.S. equity trading and specialist sales. The S&P 1500 Department Stores Index fell as much as 2.5% on Wednesday.

E-Commerce Stocks Gain Amid Data Showing Surge in Online Sales

Overall, November retail sales fell 1.1% from October, missing the consensus estimate for a 0.3% drop.

“With Covid raging across the U.S. in November coupled with election uncertainties during the month, consumers did not fully engage on the spending front,” Perkins, of Retail Metrics, said. In addition, with October sales also revised lower, it appears to him that “the lack of stimulus” has “finally caught up with consumers.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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