December 28, 2004, 12:00 AM

Retail sites claim 25% hike in share of Internet holiday season traffic

Online shopping claimed a 25% increase in the share of Internet traffic from Nov. 1 through Dec. 25, rising to 9.1% from 7.2% in the comparable period last year, Hitwise reports. The peak in online shopping traffic occurred on Thanksgiving Day.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Online shopping claimed a 25% increase in the share of Internet traffic from Nov. 1 through Dec. 25, rising to 9.1% from 7.2% in the comparable period last year, Hitwise USA Inc. reports. The busiest day in online shopping traffic occurred on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25.

Traffic peaked weekly on the weekends, with Sunday the strongest day, with the exception of the peaks occurring on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, Hitwise says.

Visits to three large online retailers without stores, eBay, Dell, and Amazon peaked on Dec. 9, Nov. 10 and Dec. 11, respectively. But visits to the web sites of large multi-channel retailers Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target peaked on Thanksgiving Day, as consumers research online before heading to stores on Black Friday, Hitwise says.

For the week ended Dec. 25, visits to U.S. shopping web sites accounted for 8.72% of Internet traffic, up 20% from 7.2% in the comparable week a year ago, Hitwise says. The fastest-growing categories during the week ended Dec. 25 this year were flower- and-gifts, computers, music, appliances-and-electronics, and video-and-games.

“While visits to Shopping & Classifieds sites reached new highs this year, it is interesting to note that 2004 holiday season daily traffic patterns achieved a near-perfect correlation with last year’s daily patterns,” said Bill Tancer, vice president of research. “In looking forward to the next holiday season, this repeating pattern provides invaluable insight to marketers in order to maximize their online marketing spend.”

“Where 2004 differed from 2003 was in the delayed yet rapid growth curve leading into Thanksgiving,” said Tancer. “Shopping sites increased 26.0% from Nov. 1 to Nov. 24, versus a 6.8% increase over the same period in 2003. With the elections, the war in Iraq and mixed economic signals, it appears that consumer uncertainty played some role in that shift.”

 

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