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Nielsen Online reveals most popular internet retailers

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Nielsen Online has revealed details of the top 10 retailers during the fourth quarter of 2008, including their average monthly unique visitors and their year-on-year growth. Key findings include:

  • The top 10 retailers online during the 2008 Christmas shopping period (which is what Nielsen Online calls the fourth quarter) averaged a 37% increase in unique visitors compared to the 2007 Christmas shopping period

  • Amazon, averaging 15.6 million unique Britons each month in Q4 (ranked number 1), and averaging 5.7 million (ranked number 4), were the only pure online players in the top 10; all the others are High Street retailers

  • Amongst the most popular retailers online, Littlewoods (+66%), Asda (+53%) and Marks & Spencer (+46%) had the largest year-on-year growth

  • The five major retail-focused sectors online averaged a 19% increase in unique visitors during the 2008 Christmas shopping period compared to the 2007 period

  • The biggest retail sector, Mass Merchandisers (which includes retailers such as Amazon, Argos and Tesco), increased unique visitor numbers by 15% in the 2008 Christmas period compared to the 2007 period

  • Amongst the five major retail sectors online, Multi-Category Home & Fashion (which includes sites such as Marks & Spencer, Boots and Next) had the largest year-on-year growth (+30%)

“The fact that the leading retailers online managed to attract over a third more visitors than they did for Christmas 2007 meant online retail provided some very bright news amidst the overall gloomy economic picture at the end of 2008,” says Nielsen Online’s Alex Burmaster. “It’s not that online retail will be impervious to the tighter financial environment but it has an opportunity to weather the storm better than other elements of the economy, particularly if retailers promote the web as the best way of finding cheaper goods in the most efficient and convenient way possible.”

“Across the board, the online retail sectors have done well, all attracting more visitors in the 2008 Christmas shopping period than they did in 2007,” he added. “The ‘Multi-Category Home and Fashion’ sector — which includes sites that sell various home & fashion goods including strong growth retailers such as Laura Ashley, BHS and TK Maxx — has done particularly well, growing at around five times the rate of overall Internet growth.”

“Again, this is encouraging for the retail sector in 2009 as people aren’t coming online just for small-ticket, everyday items like CDs and groceries but are increasingly looking to buy all manner of items from clothes for all the family to furniture across the entire house,” Burmaster concluded.

Most popular UK online retailers during Q4 2008 by average monthly unique visitors

  1. Amazon (15.6m visitors, up 18%)

  2. Argos (8.2m visitors, up 32%)

  3. Tesco (7.3m visitors, up 15%)

  4. (5.7m visitors, up 35%)

  5. Marks & Spencer (4.5m visitors, up 46%)

  6. Littlewoods (3.6m visitors, up 66%)

  7. Currys (3.4m visitors, up 35%)

  8. Asda (3.4m visitors, up 53%)

  9. John Lewis (3.2m visitors, up 31%)

  10. Next (3.0m visitors, up 38%)

Source: Nielsen Online

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