December 4, 2007, 12:00 AM

Younger shoppers defecting to newer comparison shopping sites, Hitwise says

While traffic is up to the 12 leading comparison shopping sites, those sites are losing favor among younger consumers, who increasingly are turning to newer sites for information on products and price, according to web traffic measurement firm Hitwise.

Holiday shoppers are hitting the leading comparison shopping sites earlier this year, possible a product of retailers offering earlier promotions, according to web traffic measurement firm Hitwise. But the 12 leading comparison sites are losing favor among younger consumers, who increasingly are turning to newer sites for information on products and price.

The percentage of U.S. web visits made to the top 12 comparison shopping sites was up 48% for the week ended Nov. 24-two days after Thanksgiving-compared with the comparable week last year. Visits to the 12 comparison sites amounted to 0.57% of all web visits during Thanksgiving week this year, compared with 0.39% last year.

At the same time, the composition of those visitors is changing markedly, becoming significantly older. Hitwise finds that 51% of the visitors to those dozen sites were 45 and older, compared with 38% last year. Among web users 55 and older, the market share of the 12 top comparison shopping sites was up 56%, but it was down 27% among web users aged 25 to 34.

Hitwise explains the change by nothing that younger consumers are flocking to lesser known comparison shopping sites. At one such site, FindGift.com, 28% of the traffic is composed of consumers aged 18 to 24. But Hitwise explains that skew to younger consumers may change as the newer sites become better known and attract more experienced online shoppers.

Hitwise also reports that electronics products dominate the list of top search terms driving traffic to comparison shopping sites. “Consumers are focusing research on higher-ticket items early in the season to fit the products in their budget and ensure their availability,” Hitwise says.

Here are the top 12 comparison shopping sites with year-over-year percentage changes in their share of traffic among those 18 to 44 and 45 and up, according to Hitwise’s summary of U.S. web traffic for the week ended Nov. 24, 2007:

  • Yahoo Shopping, -24%, 51%
  • PriceGrabber, -28%, 42%
  • MSN Shopping, -23%, 39%
  • Shopping.com, -23%, 38%
  • Smarter.com, -23%, 37%
  • Pronto.com, -21%, 36%
  • NexTag, -20%, 32%
  • Shop.com, -18%, 31%
  • Bizrate.com, -19%, 31%
  • Become.com, -20%, 30%
  • Best-price.com, -21%, 28%
  • Shopzilla.com, -17%, 23%

 

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