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Apple vaults Argos to take title of second most visited UK retail website

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Apple was the UK’s second most-visited retail website in October, according to the latest Hot Shops list.

It overtook Argos, which has been constantly at number two in the IMRG-Experian Hitwise Hot Shops List, behind Amazon UK, since the list was first published in 2006. In October, the Apple site was the destination for one in every 250 visits from UK internet users. The month contained two significant events for Apple: Steve Jobs, its co-founder, died on October 5, sparking massive interest in the Apple brand. Soon after, the latest model of iPhone, the 4GS, launched.

James Murray, marketing sesearch analyst at Experian Hitwise, said: “The tech world mourned the death of Steve Jobs this quarter but Apple goes on, and the launch of the iPhone 4S has helped push Apple to its highest ever ranking in the Hot Shops list.

“Amazon UK and Apple are now the two biggest brands in online retail, and this Christmas they will go head-to-head in the gadget wars as the Amazon Kindle contends with the Apple iPad. Our data shows that iPad is the more popular gadget online but the Kindle’s lower price point may entice shoppers this Christmas.”

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “While the passing of Steve Jobs will undoubtedly have increased traffic levels to the Apple site, the sheer popularity of tablet devices such as the iPad is also a key factor. Amazon is expecting their Kindle to be one of their biggest sellers this Christmas, and it will be fascinating to see just how influential tablets become for consumers.”

Beyond Apple, fashion retailers saw online visits increase. (up 19 places to 22) and H&M (up 15 places to 43) both saw significant boosts to their rankings, while ASOS (up 7 to 12), New Look (up 3 to 13), Topshop (up five to 15) and River Island (up 4 to 19) all saw rises in their rankings.

Murray said: “Online shopping is stronger than ever and year-on-year we’ve seen UK Internet visits to the online retail category grow by three per cent, a trend we fully expect to continue throughout Christmas and the January sales period.

“We predict that Christmas 2011 will be another record-breaking year for the online retail sector. The UK spent 322 million hours shopping online in October 2011 and this is likely to increase to 350 million hours in December as people shop for their Christmas gifts.”

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