January 3, 2002, 12:00 AM

Procrastinators push specialty sites’ volume up in week before Christmas

Traffic to specialty gift sites nearly tripled in the week before Christmas compared to a baseline week, Nielsen/NetRatings Holiday eCommerce Index reports. Other sites peaked earlier, with the computer hardware peak coming the week ending Nov. 11.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Whether shoppers were still looking for that perfect gift or just procrastinating, specialty gift sites experienced their largest growth in traffic in the week just before Christmas, the Neilsen/NetRatings Holiday eCommerce Index reports.

Traffic to specialty gift sites nearly tripled in the week before Christmas compared to the last week in October, Nielsen/NetRatings’ baseline week for comparison purposes. Other sites saw peaks earlier in the season, with the computer hardware peak coming the week that ended Nov. 11. Not surprisingly, toy site traffic peaked the week ending Dec. 9, as parents wanted to make sure they could get the toys their children wanted in time for Christmas. Toys and games sites experienced 129% growth in their peak week vs. the baseline week.

Here is what Neilsen/NetRatings reports in peak week and growth:

 

     
CATEGORIES Category Peak Week Ending Percent Growth During Peak Week
SPECIALTY GIFTS Dec. 23 198%
TOYS & GAMES Dec. 9 129%
HOME AND GARDEN Dec. 16 95%
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS Dec. 2 91%
APPAREL Dec. 9 85%
SHOPPING AGGREGATORS Dec. 2 76%
VIRTUAL DEPARTMENT STORES Dec. 9 59%
BOOKS/MUSIC/VIDEO Dec. 16 40%
VALUE-ORIENTED SITES Dec. 9 34%
COMPUTER HARDWARE Nov. 11 19%

 

Interestingly, shopping remained strong the week after Christmas with sales dropping only 16% from the week ending Dec. 23 to the week ending Dec. 30. Sales in the comparable week in 200 fell 27%, Nielsen/NetRatings says.

Nielsen//NetRatings also reported the retail sites with the greatest growth over the previous year. Those sites were led by Columbia House, where traffic grew 219% to 25.8 million visitors in November and December 2001 vs. 7.9 million in November and December 2000.

Here is what Nielsen reported for shopping trips to sites:

 

       
Site/Property Shopping Trips (000) November and December 2000 Shopping Trips (000) November and December 2001 % Change
Columbia House 7,958 25,386 219%
fingerhut.com 3,300 8,051 144%
overstock.com 6,215 12,894 107%
officedepot.com 5,222 10,003 92%
apple.com 10,322 17,642 71%
bestbuy.com 13,735 22,389 63%
hp.com 17,043 26,067 53%
staples.com 5,609 8,509 52%
amazon.com* 133,197 198,822 49%
circutcity.com 6,346 8,950 41%
*Note: Amazon.com data includes ToysRus.com traffic.
       

 

"Despite its already large market share, Amazon.com continues to exceed overall industry growth, further solidifying its leadership position,” said Sean Kaldor, vice president of analytical services. “In terms of sheer size, more shopping was conducted at Amazon.com than the other nine fastest growing e-retailers this holiday season."

The Nielsen//NetRatings index is comprised of five representative sites in each category.

 

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