More shoppers than ever are abandoning the high street for the Internet this Christmas, with many of the fastest growing retailers online familiar high street names.
Internet research firm Hitwise found that during November, the top 100 high street retailer websites received 22% more UK Internet visits than the top 100 online only retailers.
The most recent IMRG-Hitwise Hot Shops List, which ranked the top 50 UK e-retailers in October, included 30 high street names.
"With a few notable exceptions, high street retailers are pulling ahead of their online rivals when it comes to Internet shopping. Partly this is a result of their brand strength - consumers are obviously looking for cheaper prices in the current climate - but they are also turning to trusted brands that offer value for money in these uncertain times," commented Robin Goad, Director of Research for Hitwise. "However, multi-channel retailers also provide more options for shoppers, and we expect that gap between the high street and online only retailers to widen during the key pre- and post-Christmas weeks as a result."
The IMRG-Hitwise Hot Shops List of the top 50 UK e-retailers* is the key indicator of online merchant performance. The List is published quarterly and tracks popularity, as indicated by visits, of those selling goods and services within the IMRG Capgemini Index Classification**. This List is based on October 2008 data.
Online retailers receiving more traffic from social networks than email marketing campaigns
During November 2008 online retailers received 5.47% of their UK Internet traffic from social networking sites, such as Facebook, YouTube and Bebo, and 3.87% from online webmail services, such as Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail. This reflects a significant shift in sources of traffic for online retailers over the 12 months: in November 2007 4.9% of their traffic came from Email Services and 4.3% from social networks.
Within the online retail marketplace, the biggest beneficiaries of traffic from social networks are fashion retailers. Three of the top 10 retail websites receiving traffic from social networks during November - ASOS, Top Shop and River Island - were fashion retailers. 15.2% of ASOS's visitors during November came from a social network, with Facebook, Bebo and MySpace all amongst the top 10 referrers of traffic to the site.
"Fashion is currently the fastest growing retail sector online, and it now accounts for over 10% of all UK ecommerce traffic," commented Robin Goad, Director of Research for Hitwise. "One of the key factors in this success has been the way that online fashion retailers have built user communities on social networking sites."
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