Apple's online store has become the second-most visited online retail site in the UK, beaten only by retail giant Amazon.com, according to new research.
New data from Experian Hitwise and IMRG shows that Apple has jumped six-places north of its previous slot to beat Argos as the second-place contender in the UK online retail space, with no let up in sight from Amazon, which still reigns supreme ahead of other major brands.
But Apple is catching up, with Apple accounting for one in every 250 visits from UK web users in last month alone. In total, 14 million visits to the Apple online store were recorded, an increase of five-fold.
Between August and October, Argos who previously held second place slipped to third, grocery and supermarket chain Tesco remained at fourth place, followed by clothing chain Next, then Marks & Spencer, and then online music and video store Play.com.
The iPhone 4S launch, along with the passing of co-founder Steve Jobs, according to the research, pushed the UK web traffic to its "highest ever levels for Apple" in October. Previous to the smartphone's launch, the increasing popularity of the iPad tablet pushed Apple's online sales through the roof.
Tablets seem to be at the forefront of the online retail game for the upcoming Christmas festivities -- the main holiday season in the UK, which does not celebrate Thanksgiving -- as Amazon expects its Kindle to be one of the online giants biggest seller. "It will be fascinating to see just how influential tablets become for consumers", Tina Spooner, IMRG's chief information officer said.
IMRG estimates that £3.72 billion ($5.8 billion) will be spent online alone during the peak-week in the run up to Christmas, between November 28th and December 5th.
eBay recently announced it would open up a store in London's West End during the same busy season, as part of an experiment to bring online shoppers to a retail store. Though shoppers will not walk home with any goods from the store, users will be able to browse the online auction house from in-store tablets and smartphones, and have them delivered to their front door at a later date.