RealTime IT News

AOL Shopping Spending Soars; Service Seals Deal With E*Trade

America Online Inc. reported Wednesday holiday spending in its AOL Shopping Channel has skyrocketed 350 percent over last year.

The company also announced a deal with online broker E*Trade that will give AOL members who open an account and trade with the broker points they can accumulate to earn free products and services.

AOL said that statistics from The Internet Research Group found that during the first two weeks of the shopping season, 750,000 more members made their first online purchases. The company attributes the e-tail extravaganza to ease of use, shopping made available around the clock and popular offerings from well-known retailers.

Other findings from AOL's research include:

  • AOL e-tail departments reporting largest increases in traffic are: toys/kids/babies, up 300 percent; flowers/candy/cards, up 275 percent; electronics/video, up 230 percent and apparel, 210 percent higher.
  • Shopping time highest during prime-time usage hours between most 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and one-third of shopping traffic occurring during 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. when stores are closed.
  • The most popular retail categories are toys/kids/babies, clothing, books/music, electronics/video and flowers/candy/cards.
  • The average AOL shopper made two purchases every week and spends 48 percent more on each purchase averaging $54.
  • AOL members purchase online after comparing pricing elsewhere during the weekend, with heaviest buying days on Mondays and Tuesdays.

AOL merchants include Eddie Bauer, eToys, DVD Express, garden.com and Blufly.com.

In a separate announcement Wednesday, AOL members will now receive redeemable points for discounted products through an agreement made between E*TRADE Group, Inc. and Digital Marketing Services Inc. (DMS), operator of the AOL Rewards Program.

Under the terms of the agreement, new E*TRADE customers will be awarded with points good for six months of free AOL service or 50 other goods and services. E*TRADE customers must open an account with a minimum investment of $1,000 by Dec. 31 and will receive 13,200 points in their AOL Rewards account. AOL Rewards operator DMS is a majority owned subsidiary of AOL.

Digital Marketing Services Inc. is a majority-owned subsidiary of America Online, Inc., located in Dallas. It provides online marketing services and custom market research through America Online. AOL Rewards lets members earn points by taking part in e-commerce transactions, service enrollments, travel purchases, and participation in AOL tutorials and surveys. The program is used by more than 30 Fortune 500 companies.