128 Million Visited Online Retail Sites in November

    December 20, 2004

comScore Media Metrix released its monthly analysis of online consumer behavior, which reported that 128 million consumers visited sites in the Retail category in November 2004.

This represents fully 80 percent of the U.S. Internet population. Retail sites, such as those operated by KB Toys, Best Buy and Toys”R”Us, dominated this month’s top gaining properties ranking, with monthly increases ranging from 45 percent to 155 percent.

“Consumers will spend more than $15 billion online this holiday season, but the Web’s impact on retail extends far beyond its application as a direct selling medium,” said Peter Daboll, president and CEO of comScore Media Metrix. “Tens of millions of Americans use the Internet to research products that they ultimately buy offline, helping make the shopping process more efficient and convenient than ever before.”

Eight of the Top 10 Gaining Categories Were Retail Related

Eight of November’s top ten gaining categories were Retail subcategories. The Jewelry, Luxury Goods & Accessories category led the way, with an increase in visitation of nearly 40 percent compared to October. In November, more than 13 million Americans visited this category, in which each of the top ten sites saw double-digit percentage increases. comScore research has also revealed that Jewelry & Watches is the fastest growing product category measured by actual online sales in the year-to-date through December 12. So far this year, consumers have spent $1.35 billion in the category, an increase of 58 percent compared to the corresponding period last year.

Parents desperately hunting for this year’s hard-to-find toys turned to Toys category sites in droves last month. Nearly 22 million Americans visited the category, an increase of 24 percent compared to October and 14 percent compared to November 2003. Category leader Toys”R”Us saw traffic jump 68 percent from October to November to 9.6 million visitors. KBToys jumped 155 percent to 3.2 million visitors, making it the top gaining property in November.

The Department Stores category, which includes such well-known traditional retailers as Wal-Mart, Target, JCPenney, Sears and Kohl’s, was up 21 percent between October and November 2004 and 29 percent compared to last November. A comScore analysis revealed that aggregate holiday spending at the Web sites of 25 major multi-channel retailers is up more than 50 percent, a level of growth more than twice that of total online retail (23 percent).

The two non-retail categories that ranked among top ten gaining categories in November were Hobbies/Lifestyles – Food and e-Cards. Nearly 34 million Americans visited the Food category in search of Thanksgiving recipes and other meal planning tips. The top four sites in the category, FoodNetwork.com, KraftFoods.com AllRecipes.com and About Food, all saw traffic increase 20 percent or more. The e-Cards category saw a 12-percent increase in traffic, driven primarily by a substantial pickup in visitation to category leader American Greetings. The site drew 13.5 million visitors in November, an increase of 27 percent versus October.

Top 50 Properties

The holiday season provided the impetus for several notable changes in the Top 50 property ranking. Best Buy Sites shot up 55 spots to place it at number 20 in November, bolstered by the nearly 10 million visitors that visited the retailer’s BestBuyGiftFinder.com site.

Among sites in the Top 50 Properties in both October and November, Target Corporation had the largest jump, moving up 15 spots to number 25. Sears Sites posted a similar 15-spot gain to move into the Top 50 at number 39. Overstock.com (November’s number 31), Shopping.com Sites (number 22) and Sony Online (number 37) gained 10, 6 and 6 spots, respectively.

AmericanGreetings Property received a 27-percent boost from holiday e- cards, moving it 12 spots to number 38. Thanksgiving traffic to FoodNetwork.com helped E.W. Scripps post a 27-percent month-over-month gain, as well as a 24-percent gain from last November, to finish in the number 40 spot with 13.2 million visitors.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking

comScore Media Metrix’s ranking of advertising-supported media brands includes media properties, such as Yahoo! and MSN, as well as advertising networks, such as Advertising.com and TribalFusion. Instead of focusing on corporate ownership, this reporting mirrors, as closely as possible, the manner in which advertising is actually packaged and sold. With this ranking, media planners and buyers can more easily evaluate interactive marketing options on an equal footing.

This month’s Ad Focus ranking continues using the unduplicated view. This provides a more comprehensive view of the various sites that are supported by advertising. comScore Media Metrix clients may still view the duplicated version through the MyMetrix online reporting system. Advertising.com, Yahoo! and MSN retained the top 3 spots in the Ad Focus ranking for the seventh consecutive month, while analysis of election returns and a heavy news month joined forces to move CNN and MSNBC four spots each, to finish at number 21 and 22, in November’s Ad Focus ranking.

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