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Big Names Enjoy Thanksgiving Traffic

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The brick and mortar storefronts crowded with bargain-seeking shoppers on Black Friday had plenty of traffic at their online counterparts the day before, as shoppers sought refuge from relatives and chores by spending some quality time with their Internet connections and online retailers.

Analysis firm Hitwise said visits to its Retail 100 Index peaked on Thanksgiving Day, continuing a trend from 2005. About five percent of all US Internet visits on the holiday hit a retailer, an 11.8 percent increase from last year’s Thanksgiving, and a 33.9 percent increase over 2004′s Thanksgiving holiday.

Black Friday visits were only up 2.7 percent from 2005, though. Those had to be profitable visits, as comScore noted consumers spent $434 million online on Friday. That figure excluded transactions at auction sites, as well as large corporate purchases.

Four of the top five websites gaining Turkey Day traffic have offline counterparts. Wal-Mart.com topped the list for the day, which may explain why their site had difficulties handling the crush of visitors. The retail giant took 18.26 percent of the market share of visits to US sites in the Hitwise Retail 100.

Electronics retailer BestBuy had the second busiest site (8.75 percent) while Amazon.com followed closely (8.36 percent.) Amazon’s vaunted infrastructure had problems with traffic as did Wal-Mart’s.

BestBuy’s direct competitor CircuitCity grabbed nearly seven percent of the market share of visits. Upscale discounter Target picked up a smidge over six percent to round out the top five.

“Traditionally, retailers have looked to Black Friday sales figures as a way of predicting the upcoming holiday season,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise. “The Hitwise Retail 100 index provides insight into both online and offline retail activity and with an 11.8 percent increase over the previous year is a very positive indication for the upcoming month.”

Sites that aren’t receiving the volume of traffic that a brand-name retailer does still have time to capitalize on shopping activity for the next few weeks. A search marketing campaign, prudently managed and rigorously monitored, could deliver enough keyword-querying shoppers to make the holidays more profitable for online businesses of all sizes.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Big Names Enjoy Thanksgiving Traffic
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