For the week ending Nov. 26, Yahoo! Search sent 16.11 percent of visitors to shopping and classifieds sites, while 15.99 percent of searchers at MSN went to a shopping and classifieds site. Google sent just 14.46 percent of searchers to such sites.
Search engines were especially effective at sending visitors to comparison shopping sites, according to Hitwise. Froogle, for instance, received more than 80 percent of its traffic from search engines, while more than 71 percent of Epinions visitors came from a search engine, as did approximately 61 percent of BizRate visitors.
When Hitwise examined traffic patterns by vertical category, the research company found that search engines accounted for about 38 percent of the traffic at rewards and directories sites, 35 percent of visits to intimate apparel and accessories, and 33 percent of visits to house and garden sites. The category that search engines benefited least was automotive sites; around 12 percent of visitors came from search engines.