December 28, 2001, 12:00 AM

BizRate, MSN report holiday sales growth

BizRate and MSN`s eShop exceeded early predictions for holiday web sales.

BizRate.com, a leading comparison shopping site and provider of online research, reports that this year’s holiday shopping season reached an industry high of $6.6 billion, up 36% compared to the same period last year. The e-commerce high represents a $238 million increase in BizRate’s initial holiday forecast of 31% growth for the season. BizRate expects online shoppers to continue their blitz into January as they take advantage of post-holiday clearance sales.

BizRate’s study shows that online shoppers spent more money online as well: Average order amounts increased 13% to $126.77, compared to last year’s average of $112.13 per order. Online shoppers focussed on buying electronics, toys and game, computer hardware, gifts and flowers categories. Electronics showed an increase in sales of 102%; toys and games were up 69%, computer hardware was up 53%; and gifts and flower sales were up 37% from last year. BizRate says digital cameras and video platforms were two key products fueling online shopping growth.

Meanwhile, the MSN network of Internet services announced today that visitors to MSN spent $5.6 billion online during the 2001 holiday shopping season fueling a 56% increase in online sales. MSN’s eShop reports a 106% increase in the number of shoppers who visited the site during the holiday season compared with last year. The most popular items purchased at MSN eShop were digital cameras, PDAs and MP3 players, as well as movie-related products and wireless products.

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