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 PropertiesIn 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 PropertiesWith 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 RankingIntroduced 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.
*Ranking based on the top 250 properties in December
**Indicates that this entity is an advertising network.
About Comscore Media MetrixComscore 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 NetworksComscore 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.
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