Online Retail Traffic Soars

Led by a sharp increase in visits to music, book, and video retailers, e-commerce sites drew 462.5 million visits for the week ending Dec. 4--marking a 33 percent increase from the first post-Thanksgiving week of 2004, according to research company Nielsen//NetRatings.

Sites selling books, music, or video alone were visited 46 million times--a more than threefold increase from last year's 14 million visits. Online apparel stores drew 17.1 million visits, a 38 percent increase from last year's 12.5 million.

Looking at trends so far this holiday season, Nielsen//NetRatings found that toys and video games saw 149 percent more visits for the week ending Dec. 4 from the last week in October. Visits to sites selling flowers and gifts spiked by 117 percent, while visits to consumer electronics sites surged by 90 percent.

Separately, research company comScore Networks reported Sunday that online spending climbed to $12.75 billion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 9, a 23 percent increase from last year's $10.38 billion.

comScore also reported that visits to retail sites grew by 7 percent from last year, and that the largest sites grew even faster. Last month, traffic to Target had increased by 48 percent, compared to November 2004; JC Penney grew traffic by 38 percent, and Wal-Mart saw a 35 percent uptick in visits.

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