Some Silver in the E-Commerce Clouds

Despite a somewhat gloomy forecast for holiday season e-commerce sales,
investment research firm Goldman Sachs says that some companies, including, are turning in good performances.

And consumers still plan to spend more than last year and satisfaction
remains strong, said the investment firm in reporting on Week 6 of its study
of online sales for the holidays.

But GS said that sales for the week ending Dec. 10 were lower than expected
and there exists a “significant risk” that seasonal sales will come in at the
low end of the firm’s estimate of 50 to 100 percent year-over-year growth.

“We have also continued to see a significant deterioration in trends of
selected e-commerce companies, but not in all,” GS said. “Given the negative
press surrounding e-commerce, we believe that those companies that have a
large customer base and a consistent reputation for high customer service
have garnered market share from the smaller players.”

GS said that “continues to lead in category market
share in most of its five most important categories: books, music and videos;
consumer electronics and toys.” November-to-date sales in the top categories
in total are up 77 percent, which bodes well for Amazon’s sales, said the
investment firm.

Meanwhile, said today that it is “experiencing
strong traffic and sales activity in the 2000 holiday season.” Traffic was up
40 percent in November, the company said, citing Media Metrix figures. No
specifics on sales were disclosed, however.

Goldman, Sachs said it is “maintaining our outlook for Amazon, eBay, and”

But it also said, “We continue to believe only a few select leadership
companies will see price appreciation. We think the shake-up and
capital-constrained environment that has characterized 2000 will continue
until mid-2001.”

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