Cupid Strikes Online

  • by February 12, 2003
With just four days left until Valentine's Day many surfers can look to the Web to search for gifts, romantic getaways, dining ideas and even the perfect mate, just in time for February 14.

Nielsen//NetRatings reports that matchmaking or personals sites have continued to grow in popularity, with surfers tapping into the various sites to meet potential mates. According to Nielsen//NetRatings' latest weekly data, nearly 1.2 million unique visitors logged on to Match.com from home, with traffic to the site experiencing a 27% surge over the past eight weeks. Yahoo! Personals recorded 773,000 visitors for the week ending February 2, while American Singles increased 36% since mid-December with 610,000 visitors during the latest week.

"The use of personals sites is becoming more main stream," said Carolyn Clark, senior Internet analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. "As the stigma of meeting someone online diminishes across all demographics, personals sites are expanding their reach because the Internet provides a solid community base for them to thrive."

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Valentine's Day Must-Haves: Flowers, Gifts and Restaurant Reservations Flowers, and other special occasion gifts are must-haves for loved ones during Valentine's. Nielsen//NetRatings data shows that 1800flowers.com traffic increased 24% in the past week to 233,000 unique visitors at home. Surfers looking for gift ideas has made Red Envelope a popular stop on the Internet, as the site experienced a 33% increase in at home unique audience traffic during the week ending February 2.

"On the heels of a busy commerce season during the December holidays, specialty retail sites must quickly prepare for Valentine's Day," said Clark. "Many sites are currently promoting next-day shipping for surfers procrastinating until February 13 to buy gifts."

Additionally, finding a great restaurant for Valentine's Day is an important element to this date-centric holiday and traffic to online guide site, Citysearch.com spiked 15% to 654,000 unique visitors at home, for the week ending February 2nd. New York was the most visited city guide within Citysearch garnering 13% of the sites weekly unique at home traffic. The Chicago and Bay area sections followed with 7 and 6.2% of Citysearch's unique at home visitors, respectively.

Many online travel sites have been promoting special romantic travel deals, and this year surfers can take advantage of February 14 falling on the President's Day holiday weekend. Nielsen//NetRatings reports that the number of people logging on to travel sites from the office jumped 30% to nearly 10.7 million unique visitors during the week ending February 2, as compared to 8.2 million during the first week of January.

Expedia topped the list with more than 2.5 million visitors at work for the week ending February 2, with traffic increasing 47% since the first week of January. Travelocity posted nearly 2.2 million visitors, gaining 40% more visitors in five weeks, while Orbitz attracted 1.7 million surfers from the office. Rounding out the top five, Southwest Airlines and Delta airlines drew nearly 1.3 million and 990,000 unique visitors, respectively.

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