Auction sites and the exchange traded funds (ETFs) that hold them are seeing hard times and a not so holly-jolly Christmas.
This holiday season has seen a decline of shoppers on auction sites like eBay (EBAY) and a trend towards the more speedy and convenient fixed-price sites, like Amazon (AMZN). In fact, weekly traffic on eBay fell 16% between Nov. 3 and Dec. 14 and increased by 6% on Amazon as compared to a year ago, states Christopher Lawton of The Wall Street Journal.
One positive bit of news is that online retail sales held up better than most this holiday season, report Ben Worthen and Jessica E. Vascellaro for The Wall Street Journal. Online spending fell 2% from Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve, compared to a drop of 5.5% to 8% for the retail sector overall.
eBay has seen a few changes, a restructuring of its emphasis away from an auction house toward a fixed-price site and the emergence of a new CEO who has made it cheaper to list an item and boosted the fee charged when an item sells.