RealTime IT News

A Surge of eShoppers

The number of different people visiting retail sites during the week of Thanksgiving and Black Friday increased by 40.3 percent compared to the same week last year, from 25.1 million to 35.2 million unique visitors, according to figures from Web measurement firm Media Metrix.

And rival measurement company NetRatings said that Amazon.com is leading the way among online merchants, attracting nearly 54 million visits for the first four weeks of the 2000 holiday shopping season. The number of visitors to eToys.com in the first four weeks was 8.38 million, up 179.9 percent from the start of the shopping season, the company said.

Media Metrix said that Amazon.com and Mypoints.com were the No. 1 and No. 2 retail sites overall for the week of Thanksgiving for the second year in a row. Amazon.com had 960,000 and 1.5 million average daily unique visitors in 1999 and 2000, respectively, and Mypoints.com had 897,000 and 1.4 million average daily unique visitors in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

"Amazon.com has leveraged its brand presence and partnerships with companies such as Toys R Us and Drugstore.com to attract millions of consumers," said Sean Kaldor, vice president of e-commerce at NetRatings.

"Looking at the first half of this online shopping season, the e-tailers that have a solid brand, offer an extensive array of products, and promise fast and hassle-free deliveries, are winning the pocketbooks of consumers," Kaldor said. "Out of the three weeks left during the holiday season, the next two weeks are make-or-break for most e-tailers."

"Despite the widely publicized snags consumers experienced while shopping online last holiday season, consumer confidence online remains strong as indicated by the year-over-year increase in the Media Metrix Online Shopping Index," said Anne Rickert, measurement analyst, Media Metrix.

NetRatings said its Holiday E-Commerce Index, which measures Web surfing in eight product categories, grew eight percent during the fourth week in November

The toys and games category spiked 55 percent over the previous week as consumers shopped during the Thanksgiving weekend. KBkids.com rose 83 percent this past week and EToys.com surged 63 percent, according to NetRatings.

Media Metrix said that Peoplepc.com and Radioshack.com were the top gaining retail sites during Thanksgiving week in 2000, with 87.3 and 82.7 percent increases in their average daily unique visitors over the prior week, respectively. Books and Computers were the top retail subcategories during Thanksgiving week, with 2.1 million and 2.0 million average daily unique visitors, respectively.

Meanwhile, Jupiter Research, in a separate announcement today, said that more than 50 percent of online retailers say they are confident they will be able to handle high volumes of orders this holiday season versus last year, when only 10 percent were confident of their sites' infrastructures. Jupiter cautioned, however, that online retailers could leave shoppers hanging in the event of a site crash, due to their lack of customer-service contingency plans.

And, also on the retail report front, research and consulting firm Gartner Group said that a new survey shows that among those buying gifts online this holiday season in the United States, spending on the Internet will account for 43 percent of their total holiday spending.

Gartner's survey showed that people in the United States who have a year or more experience in buying products and services over the Internet will spend $8.4 billion this year. Worldwide online holiday spending this year is projected to reach $19.5 billion, the company predicted.