August 11, 2003, 12:00 AM

Online retail traffic spikes as families equip kids for fall

SmartBargains.com and other web retailers see triple-digit growth as shoppers search online for back to school deals, Nielsen/NetRatings reports. Bargain hunting is driving online back to school shopping.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Back to school shopping is driving major spikes at some online retailers, according to web traffic data for the week ending Aug. 3, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Some online retailers experienced triple-digit growth over the previous week’s traffic.

Discounter SmartBargains.com saw the biggest week-over-week increase, with traffic jumping 209% to more than 1 million unique visitors as compared to 337,000 the previous week. Apparel retailer Old Navy’s web site saw the second-largest increase, up 107% to 614,000 visitors for the week from 297,000 a week earlier. Driven partly by its online Back to School Superstore, multi-category retailer Buy.com’s traffic jumped 83% to 1.2 million unique visitors from 680,000.

Other online retailers whose week-to-week growth placed in the top ten included shopping aggregator iWon Shopping, which saw a 61% increase; and Wal-Mart Stores, 45%. At 2.2 million unique visitors, Wal-Mart’s site had the most traffic of the top 10. Other retail sites experiencing traffic spikes during the week were Sam’s Club, which had a 37% increase in unique visitors, BedBathandBeyond.com, 36%; and VictoriasSecret.com, 36%.

“Retailers are gearing up for fall with summer clearance sales and back to school shopping information,” says Abha Bhagat, senior Internet analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings. “Even as overall retail sales tick up, consumers continue to be value-driven and look for deals and discounts online.”

 

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