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2006 Holiday Sales Robust For E-commerce

2006 Holiday Sales Robust For E-commerce

Now that we’ve all shaken our post holiday induced stupor, you may be wondering exactly how e-commerce fared over the holidays. Well, number are in, the news looks good, and there are some clear winners this year.

According to MediaPost, Hitwise’s retail index of 100 e-tailers show that, for example, year over year, Amazon received the most visits out of that basket of retailers, receiving over 13% of the total visits, Wal-mart, on the other hand, was in second place with just over 9%.

Apple’s iTunes roared ahead from last year, with an increase in 413% in traffic; the iTunes webstore was the fourth most visited website in the retail 100 index on Christmas Day.

Hallmark’s website traffic surged as well over 90% in the week leading up to christmas, as people looked for cards and holiday themed ornaments. And on average traffic was up 6% over last year’s holiday season.

What’s interesting is that Comscore reports a more generous increase in average traffic — up to 20% compared to last year, based on different standards, and a different basket of internet retailers. Irrespective of the actual data, both of these reports confirm that e-commerce continues to grow year over year, even during periods of particularly joyful spending.

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What would have been interesting would be to see a breakdown of the actual drivers for traffic; how was certain categories of technology this year over last? How was last year’s favourite compared to this year? Have trends shown traditional e-commerce standby’s to be holding their own? (music, books) And are there are any new products or changes in pricing that can explain the growth this year over next?

For example, I wonder if an overall increase in the puchase of gift cards has made any difference in e-commerce traffic; or how about the dropping price of high definition televions given that they’re such a high ticket item, or even the release of some very limited quantities of next generation consoles (versus one very available one) on traffic levels to certain sites which might or might not have them.
Particularly with the last issue, it will be very interesting to see how things fare in the upcoming year, as console interest will almost certainly wane from their previous messianic fervor to more manageable levels — but will probably be balanced by an increased availability of units.

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