RealTime IT News

King of the E-Commerce Hill

Amazon.com , partnered with Toys R Us, won the 2000 holiday race among e-tailers, garnering a total of 123 million shopping visits for the season., according to a new report.

However, click and mortar retailers overall did very well with Web consumers, as 11 or the top 15 e-tailers belonged to that category, according to figures from Web measurement firm Nielsen//NetRatings.

Meanwhile, America Online said that online retail sales to AOL members reached $4.6 billion during the 2000 holiday season.

NetRatings said eToys was second in visitors for the holiday season with 21 million shopping visitors, followed in order by Dell, Barnes & Noble, CDNow.com, walmart.com, hp.com, buy.com, jcpenney.com, bestbuy.com, hallmark.com, bluelight.com (Kmart), ubid.com, sears.com and target.com.

"The 2000 holiday season will best be remembered for the onslaught of brick and mortar stores," said Sean Kaldor, vice president of e-commerce at NetRatings. "Strong brand awareness, millions of loyal customers, and proven retailing savvy led to the success of brick and mortars this year."

Online shopping this season mirrored the trend for traditional retailers.

"Web consumers favored the huge selections and the time-savings offered by virtual department stores, as they flocked to sites such as Amazon.com, Bluelight.com, Buy.com, JCPenney.com, Sears.com, Target.com, Ubid.com, and Walmart.com throughout the season," Kaldor said.

At its peak, the Nielsen//NetRatings Holiday E-Commerce Index, which measures home and work shopping trips to representative e-commerce sites in eight product categories, grew 78 percent during the season. In the week ending Dec. 24, the index declined 31 percent as shoppers moved their purchases off-line.

The fastest growing product category for the season was specialty gifts, which rocketed 264 percent at the peak of the holidays. Toys and Games, an annual favorite of the holiday season, jumped 138 percent while the apparel category followed closely behind at a growth rate of 130 percent.

NetRatings excludes from its holiday list sites related to travel, ticketing, auctions, financial services, and shopping aggregators, including comparison shopping sites and online malls. A visit is defined as a single trip to a shopping site, including both home and work PC users.

Back at AOL, the company said today that members' total online spending over all of 2000 reached "a record-breaking $20 billion -- double the amount spent last year."

AOL also reported that transactions processed through AOL this holiday season increased over 100 percent. AOL also said that on Christmas Day its flagship AOL service broke its single-day record for membership growth, gaining more than 70,000 new subscribers worldwide.