Online Shopping Soars During Last Week of November

According to figures released by Nielsen//NetRatings on Thursday, toy sites, comparison sites and Net malls saw their traffic soar an average of 70 percent from the first week in November through the month’s final week.

The results showed positive gains in all retail categories, with holiday shopping experiencing an overall traffic gain of 11 percent in just one week.

Comparison Sites

The report’s biggest surprise was the high traffic on comparison sites such as MySimon and Pricewatch, which help consumers find the best deals for specific items across thousands of merchants. Comparison sites are growing in popularity because they save their users both money and time.

Comparison sites are most heavily used for books, music and videos. MySimon saw a 174 percent gain in traffic in just one week over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Toy Sites

Toys were a predictable winner. The category saw a month-long gain of 82 percent, with a one-week increase of 36 percent for the Thanksgiving holiday.

eToys held its lead over Toysrus.com, which experienced two outages in November. Wizards.com experienced a rush on Sega’s Dreamcast game platforms and all things Pokemon.

Sega’s own site, Sega.com, saw a one-week traffic jump of 200 percent.

Cybermalls

Online shopping malls were another big winner, with a one-week rise of 25 percent and a month-long gain of 59 percent.

The malls offer one-stop shopping for all categories, from toys and sweaters to flowers and jewelry. Shopping.com saw a 67 percent increase during November, while Yahoo! experienced a 36 percent lift.

Apparel Surprises Doubters

Despite the fact that many Web observers remain skeptical about the long-term prospects for apparel sales on the Internet, a number of heavy-hitting apparel companies moved online and used the month of November to demonstrate that clothing can effectively compete in the electronic world. The category saw a one-week move of 28 percent and a month-long rise of 35 percent.

Nielsen attributes the apparel gain to advertising and direct marketing campaigns. Gap experienced a 46 percent increase in traffic following a heavy broadcast advertising push. Additionally, Lands’ End and JCrew enjoyed increases following their catalog mailings.

Web Stalwarts Saw Small Gains

The old Net standbys also experienced increased traffic in the final week of November. Amazon.com logged an increase of five percent during the Thanksgiving week, while eBay was up seven percent over the holiday.

Likewise, the categories of books/music/video and auctions grew a mild three percent and four percent respectively.

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