E-commerce sector wins record market share

E-commerce sector wins record market share

With Christmas only weeks away, the market share of visits to shopping websites in the UK has broken through the 12 per cent barrier for the first time, records online measurement company Hitwise.

The online shopping sector now represents 12.13 per cent of all visits by UK Internet users.

This news comes despite reports that high street retailers are experiencing slower sales in the lead up to Christmas when compared with the past 2 years.

The latest monthly data from October 2004 also shows that traffic to shopping websites has increased by 24 per cent in the 12 months since October 2003.

This breakthrough for the retail sector comes hot on the heels of the Hitwise UK Online Retail Report 2004, released last week. The report predicted that the retail sector would achieve 12 per cent market share by the end of this year, in light of the similar increase experienced between October and December in 2003.

Other key findings from the Hitwise UK Online Retail Report 2004 are similarly promising for the online retail sector.

For starters, it appears that visitors are spending longer on shopping sites this year: up from an average session duration of six minutes and 52 seconds in October 2003 to seven minutes and 18 seconds in October 2004. The average session time for all sites is six minutes and 43 seconds.

The largest segment of traffic to shopping sites comes from Internet users who are in the combined Social Grades of ABC1 (51.77 per cent), the traditional target for advertisers. This confirms the adoption of online shopping by the higher Social Grades.

UK users also showed a greater preference for local retailers in October 2004 compared with October 2003. Visits to UK shopping sites accounted for 81.2 per cent of all traffic in October 2004, 1.3 per cent more than October 2003.

Of the top 1,000 most successful shopping search terms, 63.7 per cent were brand specific (e.g., ebay), 27.5 per cent were generic product searches (e.g., mobile phones) and 8.8 per cent were specific product searches (e.g., nokia 6260).

'ebay' is the most successful search term for the retail sector; with 10 different variations of 'ebay' appearing within the top 100 shopping search terms. 'Amazon' and 'Argos' are the second and third most popular keywords respectively.

Sources: Hitwise

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