Report: Large Chains Weathering E-tail Slump

Large brick-and-mortar chain retailers are showing the strongest sales in a slow summer for online shopping, with women doing the bulk of the buying, according to statistics released Thursday by PC Data Online.

JCPenney.com, Sears.com, BestBuy.com, Staples.com and Spiegel.com advanced on the list of e-tail sales in July, though all reported “slight declines” in unique buyers, according to the research firm’s monthly statistics on its Top 20 e-tail sites.

Changing Demographics

Gravitating toward shopping sites, women aged 35 to 44 were a “dominant e-tail force” during the month, said John Megahed, director of online research and analysis for the Reston, Virginia-based firm. “The demographics in online shopping are shifting away from the MTV generation,” he said.

JCPenney.com jumped three spots in the rankings to the No. 7 position, with 218,000 unique buyers during the month. Sears.com also leapt three spots, reaching No. 8 with 207,000 unique buyers.

Bestbuy.com entered the top 20 at No. 19, with 75,000 unique buyers, while Staples.com edged onto the list at No. 20 with 74,000.

All but Staples.com saw predominantly female buyers, the report said. Staples, the report said, was powered by men between the ages of 45 and 54.

Findings Echo Other Reports

The PC Data report is the latest in a string of data showing that women are gaining as Internet users and online buyers.

A survey released earlier this week by Media Metrix and Jupiter Communications found that women are overtaking men as Internet users. Women now make up 50.4 percent of Web users, the survey found. Earlier this year, Forrester Research said that 45 percent of all online shoppers are female.

Amazon, Ticketmaster See July Gains

Of the top 10 sites tracked by PC Data, only Amazon.com, Ticketmaster.com — Nos. 1 and 2, respectively — and No. 6 Real.com saw more unique buyers in July than in June.

Amazon.com saw a 22 percent increase to 1.8 million unique buyers, with Ticketmaster.com registering a nine percent gain to 676,000. Real.com, which offers streaming media on its site, saw the largest jump inside the July rankings, up 10 slots from June.

Discount e-tailer Half.com jumped from No. 21 in June to No. 13 in July. The site was recently acquired by online auctioneer eBay.

More.com Takes a Tumble

Five companies from June’s Top 20 dropped out: eToys.com, 1-800-Flowers.com, Dell.com, MotherNature.com and More.com.

More.com, a seller of health and beauty products, had been No. 9 in the previous month.

PC Data Online tracks unique visitors to its Top 20 sites, through software based on buying activity and traffic from more than 120,000 U.S. home Internet users. The company defines Internet retail sites as Web sites where visitors can actually purchase products.

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