The shopping search engine Shopping.com has announced that it served a record number of holiday shoppers this season, which has turned out to be a watershed event for retailers across the Web. Online retail sales during the holiday season (November and December) grew to $12.5 billion according to comScore Networks, an increase of 29.5 percent versus this same period a year ago.
Shopping.com reports that it helped more than 76 million individual shoppers use the power of information to make the best shopping decisions in the period from the official start of the holiday shopping season, Friday, November 28, 2003, (the day after Thanksgiving, known as “Black Friday”) to the close of the post-season sale rush, Sunday night, January 4th, 2004.
Those 76 million shoppers, which represent an 81 percent increase in traffic over the same period in 2002, generated 38 million new customer leads and an estimated $237 million in sales for merchants across the Shopping.com Network according to company data, an 121 percent increase over last year.
“The 2003 holiday shopping season marked the tipping point in mainstream acceptance of online shopping, as comparison shopping sites and retailers alike reached a new level of sophistication and service,” said Dan Ciporin, Shopping.com Chairman and CEO. “We are extremely pleased to have provided the comprehensive consumer information, including pricing, availability, shipping deadlines, as well as in-depth consumer product reviews and merchant ratings, that helped holiday shoppers gain a new confidence and comfort online.”
These figures for the same period in 2002 were approximately half of this year’s totals. From Friday, November 29, 2002 – Sunday, January 5, 2002, Shopping.com (then DealTime and Epinions) served 42 million shoppers. Those shoppers generated more than 17 million leads which converted into $107 million in sales for merchants in the DealTime Network.
Throughout the latter half of this year, the larger trend that Shopping.com experienced was the growing demand for general merchandise, and particularly for items from the home & garden and aparrel categories. In a seemingly related demographic shift, the company estimates that women now make up more than 52 percent of its traffic.
This holiday season’s top selling categories reflect that shift in shopper demographic and the corresponding demand for general merchandise on the Web.