Delivery Deadlines Slow Online Retail Traffic



Online retail traffic dropped sharply during the week before Christmas as the deadlines for holiday deliveries passed, Jupiter Media Metrix reported Thursday.

Overall, traffic was up 28.4% over last year. But sites that could still play Santa saw traffic surge. Last-minute shoppers headed for sites that offer holiday cards and online currency, pushing Flooz.com, Americangreetings.com, Egreetings.com, and Hallmark.com to the top 10 sites with the largest increases in traffic.

Amazon.com and Mypoints.com remained the top two retail sites overall, according to Jupiter, with a daily average of 1.3 million and 1.2 million unique visitors, respectively. But an 83% growth spurt pushed Americangreetings.com into the No. 3 spot, with 745,000 average daily unique visitors.

PC Data Online, meanwhile, Wednesday ranked Toysrus.com as the Santa category leader for Christmas week, with 2.1 million unique visitors. Microsoft.com dominated the computer software sector, with 15.2 million visitors, while hardware was led by Dell.com, with 1.5 million visitors; Compaq.com, with 1.21 million; and HP.com, with 1.20 million. Gap.com beat OldNavy.com in the clothing sector, with 718,000 visitors vs. 676,000, while PayPal.com held its lead as the top financial site, clocking 2.8 million users of its electronic currency.

A study by PC Data Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reported that consumers spent $1.6 billion during the holiday peak week of Dec. 17, almost double 1999's total tab of $878 million. Santa's online sleigh for the whole Christmas season, which began the first week of November, carried $8.7 billion worth of online purchases this year, compared with $4.2 billion in 1999.

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