Is Amazon staging a historic blowout?

In the battle for online shoppers this holiday season, the Internet retailer could score a decisive and phenomenal victory.

By InvestorPlace Dec 23, 2009 1:47PM

InvestorPlace.comBy Chris Morris, Contributor,


According to ChangeWave Research, the number of people planning to spend more money at online retailer (AMZN) jumped 8% from August to November -- the largest improvement the research company has ever seen in the online-spending category.


And Amazon is proving nearly as dominant when pitted against traditional brick-and-mortar home-entertainment retailers.


Nearly a third of the people surveyed say they plan to shop there for home-entertainment and computer-networking products over the next 90 days. That marks Amazon's highest level in the category in more than three years -- and puts it second only to Best Buy (BBY). In 2008, it trailed both Best Buy and Costco (COST).


ChangeWave surveyed 2,954 consumers to assess their spending plans over the next 90 days, seeking to determine if they would be spending more, less or the same amount with various stores.


Of the people shopping at Amazon, 22% say they plan to spend more money than they did a year ago, up from 19% in August; 9% plan to spend less, which is on par with the past two months -- and 7 points better than the same period in 2008.


The retailer is primed to take advantage of that momentum. Amazon began offering Black Friday pricing on several items four days before the kickoff of the traditional shopping season, slashing princes on DVDs, video games and home appliances.


The good fortune didn't spread throughout the online-shopping space, however. Several Internet retailers, including the retail arm of Target (TGT), didn't fare well with respondents. That's mitigated, though, as the survey showed a sharp pickup in momentum at the brick-and-mortar side of the business.


Costco led traditional retailers in the survey, with a 4-point gain since August. Target and Wal-Mart (WMT) were right behind, with 3-point increases.


Department stores like Macy's (M), Bloomingdale's, J.C. Penney (JCP) and Sears (SHLD) saw a slight momentum rise on the strength of discounters and wholesale clubs.


On the larger front, ChangeWave's survey predicts overall spending in holiday 2009 will be much more robust than it was last year, though consumers are still somewhat cautious about the economy.


The company found the consumer electronics category to have the most momentum, but people also indicated they were planning to eat out more often and were more likely to consider purchasing durable goods items, such as appliances or new cars.


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