Comscore Media Metrix Announces Top 50 U.S. Internet Property Rankings for December 2003

Holidays Drive Major Traffic Shifts for the Third Consecutive Month

RESTON, Va. Jan. 14, 2004 – Comscore Media Metrix today announced the Top 50 U.S. Internet Properties for the month of December 2003. In December, the total U.S. Internet population totaled 152.1 million users who spent an average of 27.6 hours online, an increase of 6 percent versus November, as consumers prepared for and celebrated the holidays.

“Our year-end sales data have confirmed that 2003 online holiday retail spending grew by 30 percent, to a record $12.5 billion,” said Peter Daboll, president of Comscore Media Metrix. “Consumers actively used the Web to buy online and guide their shopping offline, leaving their mark in traffic patterns across a range of retail categories from Flowers, Gifts & Greetings to Department Stores to Toys.”

Top 50 Properties
In December, membership in the Comscore Media Metrix Top 50 required a site to cross a 14-percent higher threshold than in November. Of those properties in the Top 50 in both November and December, AmericanGreetings Property had the largest jump, moving 22 spots to #13. Other properties that posted a double-digit increase in rank include Best Buy Sites (moved 17 spots to #30), Target Corporation (moved 15 spots to #27) and Sears Sites (moved 11 spots to #38). In addition, December saw Dell rise to claim the number 50 position.

Top-Gaining Categories and Properties
With just one exception, each of the top ten gaining categories in December was driven upward by the holidays, and seven of the ten categories were Retail subcategories. This month, the top-gaining category was Flowers, Gifts & Greetings, which drew 42.4 million unique visitors, an increase of 41 percent versus November. AmericanGreetings, the top property in the category, was visited by 24.4 million Americans in December. This represents an impressive 88-percent increase versus November, making AmericanGreetings the fourth-largest gaining property in December.

In December, more than 22 million visitors logged on to UPS.com, USPS.com, FedEx.com and others to track the progress of millions of packages on their way to gift givers and recipients. As a result, the Shipping category recorded the second-largest gain, with every site in the category seeing an increase in visitation of more than 30 percent from November to December.

The Jewelry, Luxury Goods & Accessories category was the third largest gainer in December. Many lucky gift recipients are now wearing or carrying the spoils of 100+ percent gains in shopper traffic at BlueNile.com, Coach.com and Zales.com. A 500-percent increase in visitors to OmahaSteaks.com helped propel the Retail - Food category up 27 percent from November to December, making it the fifth-largest gaining category this month.

A number of other Retail subcategories saw significant holiday-related increases, including Fragrances & Cosmetics, Home Furnishings, Department Stores and Toys. LLBean.com, the top-gaining property in December, drew 3.6 million visitors as consumers outfitted themselves and their gift recipients for the holidays and a series of winter storms bearing down on the East Coast. Despite widely reported financial difficulties, KB Toys recorded a 52-percent increase in Web visitors, as Americans turned to the Internet seeking respite from malls crowded with holiday toy shoppers.

With the close of the year, most Americans close their financial books, and many seek last-minute advice to ensure their affairs are in order. Nearly 7 million Americans flocked to the Taxes category, making it the fourth-largest gainer in December. The number of visitors to TurboTax.com more than doubled from November to December, and IRS.gov and TaxAct.com both saw significant increases.

With stomachs fuller over the holidays than any other time of year, AstraZeneca posted a 102-percent jump in visitors, driven almost entirely by PurplePill.com, the Web site for acid reflux disease-treatment Nexium. LookSmart grew by 101 percent, largely due to the popularity of the company’s recently launched FindArticles.com Web site. National Geographic’s hugely popular issue focusing on sharks helped draw 3.3 million visitors to the site in December, a 76-percent increase versus November. RedNova.com grew 56 percent to 4.7 million visitors as space enthusiasts tracked the progress of the Mars rover mission.

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking
Introduced in October 2003, Comscore Media Metrix Ad Focus reporting provides a unique ranking of top Web entities that are supported in whole or in part by online advertising.

The composition and order of the top five Ad Focus entities remained constant from November to December, and each of these entities improved its reach among the total Internet population, despite the increase in size of that population.

TABLE 1

Top 50 Properties
December 2003
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
Unique Visitors (000)
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Rank Property Unique Visitors
(000)
  Rank Property Unique Visitors (000)
  Total Internet Users 152,109        
1 Yahoo! Sites 111,271   26 Weatherbug.com Property 16,426
2 Time Warner Network 110,471   27 Target Corporation 15,986
3 MSN-Microsoft Sites 110,021   28 Ask Jeeves 15,807
4 Ebay 69,169   29 Vivendi-Universal Sites 14,712
5 Google Sites 61,501   30 Best Buy Sites 14,633
6 Terra Lycos 52,080   31 iVillage.com: The Womens Network 14,556
7 Amazon Sites 45,725   32 Tickle, Inc. 14,304
8 About/Primedia 42,601   33 eUniverse Network 13,964
9 Excite Network 25,119   34 NFL Internet Group 13,885
10 CNET Networks 25,075   35 Gorilla Nation Media 13,860
11 Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) 25,072   36 ORBITZ.COM 13,715
12 Viacom Online 24,730   37 Cox Enterprises Inc. 13,529
13 AmericanGreetings Property 24,422   38 Sears Sites 13,256
14 Weather Channel, The 23,786   39 Classmates.com Sites 13,233
15 Real.com Network 22,252   40 Expedia Travel 12,878
16 Verizon Communications Corporation 22,090   41 BLASTCOMM.COM 12,761
17 Wal-Mart 21,429   42 Gannett Sites 12,719
18 Shopping.com Sites 21,314   43 JACQUIELAWSON.COM 12,684
19 Symantec 19,888   44 BIZRATE.COM 12,599
20 AT&T Properties 17,535   45 Earthlink 12,193
21 InfoSpace Network 17,268   46 United Online, Inc 12,115
22 Monster Property 17,259   47 Comcast Corporation 11,948
23 EA Online 16,795   48 News Corp. Online 11,822
24 SBC Communications 16,498   49 Hewlett Packard 11,653
25 Sony Online 16,475   50 Dell 11,507

 
TABLE 2

Top Ten Gaining Categories by Unique Visitors
December 2003 vs. November 2003
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
  Nov-03
(000)
Dec-03(000) Percent Change
Total Internet Users 151,107 152,109 0.7%
Retail - Flowers/Gifts/Greetings 30,091 42,383 40.9%
Shipping 16,425 22,406 36.4%
Retail - Jewelry/Luxury Goods/Accessories 11,171 14,810 32.6%
Taxes 5,395 6,937 28.6%
Retail - Food 10,229 13,014 27.2%
Retail - Fragrances/Cosmetics 10,134 12,709 25.4%
Retail - Home Furnishings 18,722 23,248 24.2%
E-Cards 42,125 51,480 22.2%
Retail - Department Stores 37,181 44,403 19.4%
Retail - Toys 19,138 22,742 18.8%

 TABLE 3

Top Ten Gaining Properties by Percent Change in Unique Visitors*
December 2003 vs. November 2003
Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
Property
Oct-03
(000)
Nov-03
(000)
Percentage
Change
Rank by
Unique Visitors
LLBEAN.COM 1,543 3,560 130.7% 201
AstraZeneca 1,474 2,971 101.5% 240
LookSmart 2,103 4,220 100.7% 172
AmericanGreetings Property 13,025 24,422 87.5% 13
NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC.COM 1,858 3,264 75.6% 220
TRIPADVISOR.COM 2,797 4,666 66.8% 151
REDNOVA.COM 4,250 6,613 55.6% 101
LASTMINUTETRAVEL.COM 4,596 7,139 55.3% 91
Forbes Property 3,957 6,015 52.0% 113
KB Toys 3,308 5,022 51.8% 141

 *Ranking based on the top 250 properties in December

TABLE 4

Ad Focus Ranking
December 2003
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations
Unique Visitors (000)
Source: Comscore Media Metrix
  Property Unique Visitors
(000)
Reach %   Rank Property Unique Visitors
(000)
Reach %
  Total Internet Users 152,109 100%          
1 Yahoo! 109,541 72.0%   26 MSN Messenger Service 25,204 16.6%
2 Advertising.com** 105,489 69.4%   27 Excite Network 25,119 16.5%
3 MSN 100,037 65.8%   28 Yahoo! Shopping 25,091 16.5%
4 YAHOO.COM Home Page 73,998 48.6%   29 WINDOWSMEDIA.COM 25,060 16.5%
5 GOOGLE.COM 60,050 39.5%   30 My Yahoo! 24,638 16.2%
6 Yahoo! Search 58,862 38.7%   31 AOL Prop News 23,232 15.3%
7 MaxOnline** 58,090 38.2%   32 AOL.COM Home Page 22,930 15.1%
8 Yahoo! Mail 54,739 36.0%   33 WEATHER.COM 22,766 15v%
9 MaxOnline Network** 54,730 36.0%   34 ABOUT.COM 22,754 15.0%
10 MSN.COM Home Page 51,807 34.1%   35 ClickAgents Network** 22,487 14.8%
11 MSN Search 51,719 34.0%   36 Real.com Media Sites 22,235 14.6%
12 ValueClick Network** 50,163 33.0%   37 Yahoo! News 22,017 14.5%
13 Lycos 50,075 32.9%   38 REAL.COM 21,297 14.0%
14 AOL Proprietary 49,596 32.6%   39 Yahoo! Messenger 21,256 14.0%
15 MSN Hotmail 49,217 32.4%   40 BURST! Media Youths and Students** 21,058 13.8%
16 AOL Prop Email 41,238 27.1%   41 MSNBC 20,637 13.6%
17 BURST! Media** 37,703 24.8%   42 CNN 20,473 13.5%
18 Claria 36,288 23.9%   43 MSNBC.COM 20,247 13.3%
19 Yahoo! Geocities 35,806 23.5%   44 GATOR.COM 19,914 13.1%
20 24/7 Real Media** 35,226 23.2%   45 Gator Sites 19,914 13.1%
21 AOL Prop Search 34,179 22.5%   46 Yahoo! Messenger (App) 19,146 12.6%
22 GATOR (App) 33,606 22.1%   47 Netscape 18,816 12.4%
23 WindowsMedia 27,336 18.0%   48 EA Online Syndicated Games 18,297 12.0%
24 AOL Prop Instant Message 26,599 17.5%   49 AOL Prop Member Directory 18,230 12.0%
25 MAPQUEST.COM 26,281 17.3%   50 AmericanGreetings Domestic 18,229 12.0%

 **Indicates that this entity is an advertising network.

About Comscore Media Metrix
Comscore Media Metrix, a division of Comscore Networks, provides industry-leading Internet audience measurement services that report – with unmatched accuracy - details of online media usage, visitor demographics and online buying power for the home, work and university audiences across local U.S. markets and across the globe. Comscore Media Metrix continues the tradition of quality and innovation established by its Media Metrix syndicated Internet ratings - long recognized as the currency in online media measurement among financial analysts, advertising agencies, publishers and marketers - while drawing upon Comscore's advanced technologies to address important new industry requirements. All Comscore Media Metrix syndicated ratings are based on industry-sanctioned sampling methodologies.

About Comscore Networks
Comscore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior. This capability is based on a representative cross-section of more than 1.5 million global Internet users who have given Comscore explicit permission to confidentially capture their Web-wide browsing, buying and other transaction behavior, including offline purchasing. Through its patent-pending technology, Comscore measures what matters across the entire spectrum of surfing and buying behavior. This deep knowledge of customers and competitors helps clients design more powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. Comscore services are used by global leaders such as Microsoft, Kraft, The Newspaper Association of America, Knight Ridder Digital, Best Buy, Verizon, Nestlé, Wells Fargo & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Orbitz. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.

Contact:
Andrew Lipsman
Comscore, Inc.
+1 312 775 6510
press@comscore.com



 

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