Shopping Skyrockets On Black Friday

More than 17.1 million Web users visited an online shopping site on Friday, marking a 29 percent increase from the 13.2 million Internet users to visit an e-commerce site on the Friday after last year's Thanksgiving, according to data released this weekend by Nielsen//NetRatings.

The most popular online shopping destination Friday was online auction site eBay, with about 9.5 million visitors. But that figure represents a decline from traffic on Friday of the previous week, when the site drew around 10.3 million visitors.

The retailer Target showed the most week-over-week improvement, drawing about 2.9 million visitors last Friday, up from around 1.2 million on Nov. 18--an increase of 143 percent. Target rival Wal-Mart also saw a big jump in visitors, with around 3.4 million on Friday, compared to around 1.5 million on Nov. 18. Another large retailer to show a big traffic gain was Circuit City, which lured around 1.8 million visitors on Friday, up from 872,000 the week before.

What were shoppers looking for on Black Friday? Toys and video games, consumer electronics, and computer hardware and software all were popular with online shoppers. Retail sites selling toys and video games experienced a jump in traffic of around 152 percent from Friday, Nov. 18 to Black Friday. Consumer electronics sites had a 142 week-over-week traffic jump, and computer hardware/software sites doubled their traffic, with around 102 percent week-over-week growth.