Social Networks Impact Retail Sites

    October 23, 2007

If Santa’s sled is extra heavy this year, his reindeer can blame it on Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo – a new report from Hitwise indicates that social networks are having a huge impact on retail sites.

“The amount of UK Internet traffic online retailers receive from social networks increased by 153% between December 2006 and September 2007,” writes Robin Goad.  Admittedly, not every visit equals a sale, but that’s still liable to translate into a lot of moving merchandise.

Social networks are even catching up with services designed to open wallets.  “Social Networks are now the fourth most popular source of traffic for Shopping and Classifieds sites after Search, Email Services and other Shopping and Classified sites,” reports Goad.

This news will likely further increase networks’ value; I’d imagine that the rooms in which MySpace’s advertising deals are worked out will soon be wallpapered with Hitwise’s data.  Execs at Facebook could wave it around as they discuss funding and IPOs.

On the other hand, there was one shift that indicated a target demographic is becoming harder to reach: “[B]etween December 2006 and September 2007, the proportion of visitors aged 55+ to our Net Communities and Chat category, which is dominated by social networks, has increased by 63%, while the proportion coming from the 18 -24 age group has decreased by 19%,” writes Goad.

Looks like Santa may be carrying more wigs than Wiis.