Amazon and Toys ‘R’ Us Take E-Holiday Prize

E-tail giant Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and retail partner Toys ‘R’ Us (NYSE: TOY) dominated the online shopping arena this holiday season, according to a report released Tuesdayby Nielsen//NetRatings.

The joint venture of Amazon and Toys ‘R’ Us saw 123 million visitors, more than five times the traffic of its closest competitor.

Rival eToys.com was a distant second, with 21.12 million shopping visits duringthe season, followed closely by Dell.com, the leading brick-and-mortar site, at21 million, the Internet audience measurement service said.

Barnesandnoble.com took fourth place, with 20.25 million visits, followed byCDNow.com with 20.0 million, and Walmart.com with 18.0 million.

Overall, online shopping surged during the critical holiday season. The Nielsen//NetRatings Holiday E-Commerce Index, which measures home andwork shopping trips to e-commerce sites, rose 78 percent during its peakthis season.

High-Flying Bricks

The Nielsen//NetRatings “Top 15” list was heavy on brick-and-click retailers, including such sites as JCPenney.com, BestBuy.com and Target.com.

“The 2000 holiday season will best be remembered for the onslaught of brick-and-mortarstores,” NetRatings vice president of e-commerce Sean Kaldor said. “Intotal, established offline brands account for 11 of the top 15 holidaye-tailers.”

The NetRatings report is the latest to show that old-line retailersare learning how to take advantage of the Internet.

“Strong brand awareness,millions of loyal customers, and proven retailing savvy led to the successof brick-and-mortars this year,” Kaldor said.

Department Detail

Department-store sites, such as Buy.com, Sears.com and Kmart-backed BlueLight.com, made up more than half of the Top 15 list.

“Online shopping this season mirrored the trend for traditional retailers, as thepopularity of virtual department stores dominated other product categories,”Kaldor said.

Added Kaldor: “Web consumers favored the huge selections and the time savingsoffered by virtual department stores.”

Favorite Sectors

According to NetRatings, specialty gifts was the fastest growing sector, climbing264 percent at the peak of the holiday shopping frenzy. Toys and games rose138 percent, followed by apparel, which had a 130 percent growth rate.

The specialty gift category peaked later than others, seeing the biggestjump in traffic during the week ended December 17th as shoppers madelast-minute purchases. By contrast, toy purchases peaked in the week endedDecember 3rd, and clothing sites did the most business during the week endedDecember 10th.

Nielsen//NetRatings, a service provided by Nielsen Media Research andNetRatings, Inc., gets its data from a panel of 62,000 home Internet usersand 8,000 at-work users.

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