Toys Lead E-Retail into Holiday Season

A significant increase in the number shoppers at toy sites during the week ending Nov. 11 has led analysts to declare that week the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Almost every category of online retailer saw traffic spike during the week ending Nov. 11, according to Nielsen//NetRatings annual Holiday eCommerce Index, but Toys and Games led the charge with a 66 percent increase. saw a 68 percent jump in traffic, while rose 51 percent. KB Holdings, which includes KB Kids and a rejuvenated eToys, had a 27 percent increase.

“Toy sites are the first ones out of the starting gate in attracting holiday shoppers,” said Sean Kaldor, vice president of analytical services at NetRatings. ToysRUs is benefiting nicely from its partnership with Amazon, while KB Holdings was smart to leverage its eToys brand name to maximum benefit.”

As you might expect, online toy sales experience their strongest quarter during fourth quarter of the calendar year as holiday sales increase. According to, 57 percent of Q4 2001 sales will be generated during the holiday season. BizRate also expects a 25 percent year-over-year increase in online toy sales for Q4 2001; online sales of toys are expected to generate $379 million in Q4 2001 compared to $304 million in 2000.

Among the other trends BizRate expects to see this holiday season, Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Game Boy should be the top-selling toys online this holiday season; and look for women to place 72 percent of online toy orders.

Nearly 60 percent of online shoppers plan to purchase toys online for kids and grandchildren this holiday season, with the majority spending between $100 and $200 on online toy purchases for the holidays, BizRate found.

Big projections for the toy market are nothing new this time of year, and the evolution of online shopping has done nothing to discourage lofty numbers. The online toy market finished 2000 with $793 million in revenue in 2000, according to The NPD Group, that’s 22 percent dollar growth from $650 million in 1999. But the numbers for 200 were short of projections, forcing NPD to forecast online toy sales of $1.2 billion by 2002.

NPD’s online research data found that 59 percent of online shoppers purchased toys online in 2000 compared to 43 percent in 1999. The increase is not only an indication of consumers’ increasing comfort with the online shopping experience. But even with well-publicized toy site closures NPD found consumer attitudes to be quite positive. Almost all (98 percent) of respondents said it either met or exceeded their expectations.

Nielsen//NetRatings Holiday E-Commerce Index
U.S. Home and Work Users
Category Week ending
Week ending
Toys & Games 2,761,504 4,574,533 65.7%
Home & Garden 868,266 1,219,634 40.5%
Computer Hardware 9,631,755 11,454,239 18.9%
Virtual Dept. Stores 21,748,016 25,443,967 17.0%
Consumer Electronics 2,928,326 3,378,585 15.4%
Value-Oriented Sites 6,773,770 7,686,234 13.5%
Specialty Gifts 594,747 635,914 6.9%
Shopping Aggregators 20,055,366 21,439,998 6.9%
Apparel 3,469,005 3,481,268 0.4%
Books/Music/Video 4,931,930 4,769,827 -3.3%
Total 73,762,686 84,084,199 14.0%
Index comprised of 5 representative sites in each category.
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

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