RealTime IT News

Holiday E-Commerce Index Jumps 30 Percent

Is all the hype about e-commerce real? Perhaps. The Nielsen//NetRatings Holiday E-Commerce Index shot up 30 percent amid large increases in visitors to online shopping sites over the Thanksgiving holiday from Wednesday through Sunday.

Web consumers flocked to toy sites, online malls, electronics stores and gift centers to create and fulfill wish lists, the measurement company said.

One big winner during the Thanksgiving break was online toy stores, with an 86 percent increase in traffic from Nov. 24 to Nov. 28. eToys was the winner in the head-to-head battle between the online retailer and its prime competitor Toys 'R' Us.

"Shoppers are crowding online sites earlier this year against the fear that selection might not hold through the upcoming weeks," said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services at NetRatings.

"Cybershoppers are allowing extra time in case the virtual lines are too long at some of the more popular sites. Given that Web consumers are shopping early and often, the online shopping season will end somewhere from five days to a week before Christmas Day."

On the day after Thanksgiving, mall sites attracted more men than women, with 62 percent of surfers at online malls being male. Of these online shopping centers, shopping at Yahoo! performed the best, the measurement firm said, proving that brand is as important on the Web as it is in traditional retail.

Computer hardware and software sites faced more mixed success early in the online shopping campaign.

"Computer purchases are becoming more a matter of personal taste and many are putting off buying new and second PCs until after the first of the year when Y2K fears are put to a rest, " said Weiner,

Nielsen//NetRatings collects data from more than 38,000 panelists as they use the Internet at home.