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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : January 02, 2012

Online sales, traffic show strong increases for 2011 holidays

Sure, online retail brought more than $35 billion to etailers and brands for the 2011 holiday season. But what about traffic? Because although purchasing showed a strong increase, many more people may have visited websites to find product information and then gone to a store to finalize that purchase.

by Kristina Knight

comScore reports the 2011 holiday season pulled in $35.3 billion for online retailers, a 15% increase over 2010.

comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said, "We can now say with certainty that the $1.25 billion spent on Cyber Monday will rank it as the heaviest online spending day of the season for the second consecutive year, but we should also note that it was accompanied by nine other billion dollar spending days this year."

Traffic was also high - even after Christmas Day. According to Experian Hitwise, traffic to the top 500 retail websites increased each day throughout the holiday season. Cyber Monday online traffic showed increases of 29%, December 26 saw 123 million people visit the top 500 sites.

Did most of those visitors buy? Likely. In fact, many were probably spending gift cards received over the holidays or looking for those last great buys of the season. The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted gift card buying would surpass $27 billion over the 2011 holidays, with most (38.7%) buying gift cards for department stores, however with the uptick in tablet/e-reader purchases it is likely many gift card buyers also included gift cards for downloadable books, music or other content for the people on their gift buying lists.

Meanwhile, Nielsen reports Amazon jumped into the top 10 web properties (ranked #8 with 84.2 million audience members) in November, leading up to the December rush. Their research shows consumers spent more than 29 hours online throughout November 2011.

Tags: 2011 holiday shopping, comScore, ecommerce trends, Experian Hitwise, Nielsen, NRF, online shopping

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