Online Retailers Cash In On Cyber Monday

    December 3, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

While the economy boded poorly for brick-and-mortar stores over the holiday weekend leading up to Cyber Monday, Hitwise says business was pretty much booming for online-only retailers.

Free or low-cost shipping, less hassle, less gas, and ability to efficiently comparison shop were also likely factors. Earlier, Hitwise director of research Heather Dougherty noted the general lack of traffic headed toward brick-and-mortar stores in particular on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the weekend to follow.

There was an 11 percent decline in visits to online retailers on Thanksgiving Day, a 16 percent decline in traffic to brick-and-mortar retailers. On Black Friday, traffic to the Retail 500 was down five percent year-over-year, with brick and mortar stores down 10 percent. Web-only retailers that day, though, saw a 10 percent spike in traffic.

That trend continued through Cyber Monday. While visits to the top 500 retail sites were down one percent overall when compared to 2007, and brick-and-mortar stores bled visitors by four percent, online-only retailers enjoyed a five percent increase. The big winners were, with traffic increasing by 21 percent on Monday, increasing by six percent.,, and received the largest share of visitors after Amazon and Wal-Mart.

An interesting development was that while traffic to online retailers increased, traffic to comparison shopping sites and catalog sites decreased—21 percent and four percent respectively. This could indicate either better SEO/SEM on the part of online retailers sending customers directly to them, or better brand awareness in general, or both.