Gift recommendations dominated online holiday discussions on influential blogs during November, reports Nielsen Online. An analysis of 1,000 influential blogs-determined by the number of inbound links from other blogs-shows recommendations ranging from one-off reviews to comprehensive shopping guides were the most popular posts.
The analysis also shows that in addition to reading blogs consumers increasingly are turning to social shopping sites such as ThisNext, Yahoo Shoposphere, Stylehive and Crowdstorm for interactive, peer-driven product reviews.
Overall, the most frequently reviewed and recommended gift categories were consumer electronics and video games, suggesting that bloggers may still skew toward the technologically savvy.
“Bloggers’ holiday gift recommendations have evolved from simple product reviews to be far more social in nature. Like media, retail seems to be moving from a broadcast model to one of consumer-control,” says Kate Niederhoffer, director of research methodology at Nielsen Online. “The new face of online recommendations, an emergent trend this season, comes from several forward-thinking blogs which point consumers to social shopping sites.”
Overstock.com was the fastest growing online retailer when ranked by online mentions and inbound links during the week ending December 2, increasing 122% week over week. Orbitz.com and J.C. Penney ranked No. 2 and No. 3, increasing 97% and 94%, respectively. Other highly mentioned sites and their growth rates include: Dell, 52%; Travelocity.com, 49%; Netflix.com, 40%; MSN Shopping, 30%; Hallmark, 22%; and Lowes, 22%.