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11/28/2007
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Online Holiday Shopping Surged 26% On Cyber Monday, Analysts Estimate

Web traffic peaked on Thanksgiving as sales reached $733 million on Cyber Monday this year, according to surveys from Hitwise and comScore.

Cyber Monday -- the first Monday after Thanksgiving -- was a success for retailers on two fronts: traffic and sales, according to two Internet industry analyst reports.

Traffic on retail sites rose 26% on Cyber Monday compared to the same day last year, Web site metrics company Hitwise found in its survey, while comScore reported that Cyber Monday sales reached $733 million this year. The day is referred to as Cyber Monday because of a sharp increase in online shopping that day.

"On Cyber Monday, consumers reminded retailers that there's nothing like a bargain to motivate people to spend," Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org, said in a prepared statement. "The holiday season is off to a strong start, but the challenge for online retailers now becomes finding ways to keep Cyber Monday shoppers coming back all holiday season long."

Cyber Monday, a term coined by Shop.org in 2005, began after online retailers noticed a trend of people shopping online on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Since then, consumers have flooded Web sites on Cyber Monday and come to expect robust promotions and specials that day.

Separately, the Web site with the same name -- CyberMonday.com -- drew more than 1.5 million unique visitors on Cyber Monday, five times more than last year, according to Mall Networks, which powers the site. The company offers promotions and discounts from more than 550 online retailers.

"While Cyber Monday is a great promotional angle, the real story is in the shifting season," Kelly O'Neill, of the Art Technology Group, said in a blog posting. "And we're just getting started. The peak online shopping days likely won't be seen for another week or two. Last year's peak days fell in mid-December and given a higher penetration of broadband to the home and increased consumer confidence in shipping systems, we expect to see that trend continue this season."

Hitwise reported that overall U.S. Internet traffic peaked on Thanksgiving Day, rising 20%, compared to last year. Online activity on Black Friday, the traditional start to the holiday shopping season, increased 16%. Traffic to sites in Hitwise' Black Friday category increased 45% on Thanksgiving and 43% on Black Friday compared to last year.

The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday because consumer spending rises sharply that day to put retailers in the black.

The Hitwise Top 100 Retail Index, which is comprised of the top 100 retail Web sites, received 6.84% of all U.S. visits on Nov. 22, 2007 representing an increase of 20% versus Nov. 23, 2006, which received 5.84% of visits. Online traffic on Black Friday, Nov. 23, 2007, increased 16% versus the same day in 2006. Those sites sent 17% more traffic to the top 100 retail Web sites on Thanksgiving Day and 40% more traffic on Black Friday compared to last year, Hitwise said.

Wal-Mart, BestBuy and Circuit City drew the most Web traffic among brick and mortar retailers on Thanksgiving, according to Hitwise. On Black Friday, Wal-Mart held the top spot while Amazon and Best Buy ranked second and third.

In terms of site performance, Gomez rated Blockbuster the best among its retail Web site performance category, with Overstock coming in second. CDW, BestBuy, HP and Dell rounded out the top five among 64 retailers' sites measured for availability, response time and consistency.

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