December 13, 2007, 12:00 AM

Online shopping picks up in the UK and France, comScore reports

Visits to UK retail sites were up 34% in November from the pre-Christmas period and in France by 27%, comScore reports. In Germany, traffic was down 3% as labor strikes in the transit and service industries weakened economic activity.

Visits to UK retail sites were up 34% in November from the pre-Christmas period and in France by 27%, reports comScore, a web measurement firm. In Germany, the third country comScore is tracking this holiday season, traffic was down 3% as labor strikes in the transit and service industries weakened economic activity. ComScore compared traffic from Oct. 29-Dec. 2 to the average of the eight preceding weeks.

Amazon Sites led in UK retail visits in November, with 9% of the traffic. Apple was next with 6%, followed by Home Retail Group at 4% and supermarket chain Tesco at 4%.

In France, Groupe PPR, a multi-channel retailer that owns such e-commerce sites at LaRedoute.fr and Fnac.com, let the way with 11% of online retail traffic, followed by Apple at 5%, Amazon Sites 4% and multi-channel retailer Otto Gruppe 4%.

Otto Gruppe held the top spot in Germany, with 13% of retail visits, followed by Amazon Sites 9%, cataloger and online merchant Quelle.de 7% and Apple 4%.

In a separate report on U.S. e-commerce from Hitwise, another firm that tracks Internet traffic, Amazon held on to the top spot among retail sites, and had the biggest percentage gain in traffic for the week, 11%, among the 100 top e-commerce sites. Wal-Mart was second in traffic among the retail sites, followed by Target, Half.com and Best Buy.

Search engines accounted for 29% of the traffic to the top retail sites, Hitwise reported. Google accounted for 17.49% of that traffic, followed by Yahoo at 6.25% and MSN at 1.78%.

Traffic to coupon sites is up 36% year over year, and up 683% to such social shopping sites as Kaboodle, ThisNext and StyleHive. The top product search terms driving traffic to retail web sites last week included the Nintendo Wii game console, Ugg boots and Apple’s iPod music player. Searches on the term “gift card” were up 29% over last year, Hitwise says.

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