February 14, 2006, 12:00 AM

Valentine’s Day online sales are up 22% over year ago, comScore reports

Sales in Valentine’s Day gift-related web sites increased 22% in the month leading up to the holiday vs. a year ago, comScore Networks Inc. reports, hitting $907 million in Flowers, Greetings & Gifts; Health & Beauty; and Jewelry & Watches categories.

Sales in Valentine’s Day gift-related web sites increased 22% in the month leading up to the holiday vs. a year ago, comScore Networks Inc. reports. Sales reached $907 million in Flowers, Greetings & Gifts; Health & Beauty; and Jewelry & Watches categories, from $743 million a year ago.

Health & Beauty, at $270 million, and Jewelry & Watches, at $219 million, each grew 24% over the year ago period while Flowers, Greetings & Gifts, at $270 million, grew 17%.

Among Valentine’s Day-related sites in January, as defined by comScore, American Greetings led in visitors with 8.7 million unique visitors, followed by Hallmark at 6.7 million, FTD.com at 1.9 million and 1-800-Flowers.com at 1.7 million. Martha Stewart sites were No. 5 with 1.5 million unbique visitors and WeddingChannel.com was No. 6, with 1.4 million. The other major online flower site, Proflowers.com, ranked No. 7 with 1.4 million unique visitors.

Valentine’s Day marketers looking for the best way to manage their paid-search ads should consider poetry-related keywords, market research firm Hitwise U.S.A. Inc. reports. The term “love poems” receives a larger share of search traffic throughout the year than “flowers,” “e-cards” or “lingerie,” but its share rose 83% for the week ended Feb. 11 compared to the week ended Jan. 28, outperforming both “flowers” and “gifts,” Hitwise says.

Visits to flowers-and-gifts sites monitored by Hitwise for the week ended Feb. 11, meanwhile, rose 39% over the prior week’s traffic. The sharpest gains in search-related visits at flowers-and-gifts sites for the week ended Feb. 11 were at VermonTeddyBear.com, up 322%; FTD.com, up 179%; and 1-800-Flowers.com, up 106%, Hitwise said.

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