Father’s Day Gives E-tailers a June Boost

Boosting traffic at both shopping and greeting card sites, a record number of Father’s Day shoppers went online in time to get Dad a gift or card, according to Internet tracking firm Nielsen//NetRatings.

Comparison shopping sites saw a huge surge in traffic in the week ended June 18th, the firm said. For example, DealTime, a price-comparison site, saw 138 percent more unique visitors — a total of 525,000 — during the week. In a switch from the previous week, most of the visitors were female, according to the Nielsen//NetRatings survey.

What to Get Dad?

“Contemporary Father’s Day gifts are ideal for online shopping,” said Sean Kaldor, vice president of e-commerce at NetRatings. “Comparison sites such as DealTime and mySimon especially appeal to price-sensitive shoppers seeking the latest consumer electronics, high-tech gadgets, tools, and personal accessories for Dad.”

MySimon.com’s traffic rose 51 percent to 179,000 unique visitors, while another comparision site, PriceWatch.com, saw 38 percent more shoppers.

Electronic widgets did top the list of Father’s Day gift ideas with increased sales of MP3 players, digital cameras and other portable electronic devices. According to published reports, Bizrate.com found that the average online Father’s Day purchase was $129 (US$).

Thought That Counts

Internet greeting card companies also saw a surge in traffic during the week ending with Father’s Day, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Egreetings.com (Nasdaq: EGRT) saw the biggest jump from at-work visitors using the online service to send last minute Father’s Day cards. The site enjoyed a 30 percent spike in visitor traffic.

Hallmark.com was the first choice of at-home Father’s Day card senders, with a 44 percent jump in audience size. Online card sites AmericanGreetings.com and Excite @Home’s BlueMountain.com also saw more business.

Vive La Difference

The so-called “greeting card” holidays have been consistently positive for e-commerce. In May, Mother’s Day provided an extraordinary boost with the total purchases for Mom reaching $190 million this year — more than twice the $80 million analysts had projected.

Mother’s Day 2000 shoppers were evenly split between male and female buyers, while last year 61 percent of online Mother’s Day shoppers were men. The Mother’s Day shopping period also saw 67 percent of buyers making their first purchases from particular online merchants.

Since 92 percent of purchases were made by experienced Web buyers, this figure indicates that online shoppers are not committed to specific merchants.

The average Mother’s Day online sale this year was $66, almost exactly the same amount spent on Valentine’s Day ($65), but less than half the average dollars spent on Dad. Predictably, Web sites selling flowers saw the heaviest Web traffic for Mother’s Day.

Nielsen//NetRatings is a venture of Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings Inc. (Nasdaq: NTRT).

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