January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Web's Real Toy Story Still to Come

Toysrus.com squeaked by eToys.com to become the Web's top toy site in a study of home Internet users by PC Data Online. Yet despite this year's surge in online holiday toy shopping, the largest group of respondents expressed no preference of toy sites, perhaps because they expect to do nearly 80% of their toy buying at brick-and-mortar facilities.

The toy survey is part of a study by PC Data Online to measure behaviors, attitudes and satisfaction levels of online buying during the holidays. The firm surveyed 2,990 home-based Internet users December 6-8, 1999.

In choosing a toy site, consumers ranked price as the main factor, followed by familiarity with brand and prior shopping experience.

"Toysrus.com's top ranking in our study suggests that its brand recognition helped it overcome some of the criticism it drew when it first released a Web site earlier this year," says Sean Wargo, Internet market analyst for PC Data Online. "But as eToys.com develops a brand identity of its own, and with amazon.com and walmart.com scoring well, this market is clearly becoming more competitive."

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