Traffic to online retail sites surged in November as the holiday season took off, while free shipping, price cuts, and discounts drove traffic to online coupon and incentive sites as deal-seeking shoppers scoured the web for money-saving opportunities, according to data from comScore’s Media Metrix service.?
Gift Searches See Retail Sites Swell
In its ranking of the top growing properties and site categories for November 2009 comScore, Inc. found that the top-gaining retail sub-categories were toys, consumer electronics and department stores, each growing more than 30% vs. October.
Toys sites attracted 27.4 million Americans, representing a 33% increase from the previous month. Toysrus Sites led the category with more than 14.8 million visitors (up 82%), ranking as the #4 top-gaining property in November. The LEGO Group grabbed the #2 position in the toys category with 3.8 million visitors (up 12%), followed by Disney Shopping with 2.6 million (up 29%) and AmericanGirl.com with 1.9 million (up 44%).
Consumer electronics sites grew to 52.8 million visitors during the month, a 32% increase versus October, led by BestBuy.com with nearly 25 million visitors,? and Walmart Electronics with 9.9 million visitors (up 139%). Radioshack Corporation took the #3 position with 5.1 million visitors, followed closely by eBay Electronics US with 4.8 million visitors (up 12%) and Buy.com with 4.4 million visitors (up 11%).
Online department stores also saw a 33% gain, reaching nearly 81 million unique visitors in November. Walmart.com led the category with 46.2 million visitors (up 62%), followed by Target with 38.8 million (up 43%), Sears.com with more than 19 million (up 36%), JCPenney Sites with 15.4 million (up 34%), and Macy’s Inc. with 12.7 million (up 38%).
The top-gaining property overall was BlackCard.com,? the site for the exclusive Visa black credit card.
“November marks the official start of the holiday shopping season as millions of Americans search for gifts and deals both online and in stores, “said Jack Flanagan, EVP of comScore Media Metrix. “With nearly four out of five Americans online visiting a retail site during November, the internet clearly represents an increasingly important channel for retailers during the holiday season and beyond.”
Incentives, Coupons & Savings Hot Tickets
Cost-conscious online shoppers apparently couldn’t resist great deals this holiday season, causing traffic to spike at incentives and coupons sites, comScore said. Such service sites experienced significant growth in November. Traffic to incentive sites jumped 76% during the month, attracting 27.6 million unique visitors, making incentive sites the top-gaining category for the month.
Coupon sites ranked as the #3 top gaining category in November, growing 33 percent to 37.5 million visitors. Coupons, Inc. held the leading position with more than 8 million visitors (up 9%), followed by EverSave.com with 5.3 million visitors and RetailMeNot with 5.1 million (up 43%). BlackFriday.info experienced a massive surge in activity, increasing more than 1,000% to 5 million visitors, as shoppers prepared for Black Friday. GottaDeal.com saw traffic surge 955% to 1.8 million.
In a testament to the popularity of these coupon sites, RetailMeNot reported earlier this month that consumers potentially saved $6.4 million in November by using one or more of the 329,489 online coupons for 46,636 retailers available on the site.? RetailMeNot also reported that Amazon, Victoria’s Secret, and Kohls were the most searched stores for online coupons in November.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Help Drive Online Spending
In related analysis, comScore also reported that November 2009 saw online spending increase 10% vs. a year ago, to reach nearly $12.3 billion in sales. However, this comparison is against a very weak November 2008.
comScore noted that the online shopping season kicked off early this year, with online retailers aggressively communicating their discounts and promotional offers well ahead of Thanksgiving. The result was that Black Friday (November 27) achieved $595 million in online sales, an 11% increase vs. Black Friday 2008.
Cyber Monday (November 30) reached $887 million in online spending, up 5% vs. a year ago, as Americans returned to work and turned to the internet for holiday purchases and exclusive online offers. More than 50% of all online purchases on Cyber Monday were made from work computers.
Note:? Though the release of comScore’s top-gaining site categories and properties is usually accompanied by the Top 50 Properties rankings and Top 50 Ad Focus rankings, the company said it will not publish these lists again until May 2010 after its transition to a new hybrid audience measurement methodology concludes.