Survey Shows E-Commerce Traffic Up In Latest Week

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Online shopping rose 11 percent lastweek, marking the biggest weekly jump since the beginning ofNovember, according to Nielsen/NetRatings' electronic commercesurvey of shopping during the holiday season. Topping the list for the second week were comparison shoppingsites, which allow consumers to search the Web for products andcompare the prices offered by several sites.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Online shopping rose 11 percent last week, marking the biggest weekly jump since the beginning of November, according to Nielsen/NetRatings' electronic commerce survey of shopping during the holiday season.

Topping the list for the second week were comparison shopping sites, which allow consumers to search the Web for products and compare the prices offered by several sites.

Traffic to comparison sites for the week ending November 28 jumped 71 percent over the previous week, when it jumped 137 percent.

Traffic to comparison site MySimon was up 174 percent while competitor Pricewatch climbed 56 percent, the survey said.

Online shopping malls also enjoyed increased traffic, with Shopping.com and Yahoo! Inc.'s Shopping site among the lead gainers with traffic jumping 67 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

It is estimated that shoppers will spend as much as $8 billion online this holiday season, up from $3 billion in 1998, as more than 70 million consumers chose to shop the Web, according to Forrester Research.

Industry watchers have also said that increased traffic to shopping sites can also be attributed to the fact that many companies have upgraded the technology that runs their sites in order to deal with the large volume of shoppers.

Nielsen/NetRatings said the time saved by going to one site to compare prices and features for the same product across thousands of merchants is becoming increasingly appealing, with these sites best used in shopping for books, music and videos.

Sites that sell consumer electronics also enjoyed a big jump in traffic with a 44 percent increase in the past week.

Traffic to online toy retailing sites also increased 36 percent for the week, with eToys Inc. maintaining its lead over rival Toys R Us Inc..

The survey also found that shoppers are visiting video game Web site Wizards.com for Pokemon products and games for Sega's Dreamcast video game console. Sega's own Web site experienced 200 percent growth from last week, the survey said.

Nielsen/NetRatings is a joint venture between Nielsen Media Research Inc. and NetRatings Inc, a market research firms that tracks web site data.