Comparison Shopping Engines Outpace Online Retailers

Nielsen/NetRatings reported that traffic rose 61 percent at online comparison shopping sites in the week ended Nov. 27, compared with the week ended Oct. 30. Regular online retailers by comparison saw a 35 percent rise in traffic during the same period.

Top comparison shopping sites, including Shopping.com, BizRate.com and Shopzilla, accounted for 0.3 percent of all Internet traffic — a 24 percent increase over the same period last year, according to Hitwise. These three comparison engines were also ranked 12th, 13th and 14th, respectively, by Hitwise in the category of most-visited shopping and classified Web sites last week (EBay, Amazon.com and Walmart.com took the top three rankings in that order).

Comparison shopping sites have traditionally received most of their traffic from search engines. The growth so far this holiday season suggests that they are either marketing more effectively with search engines, or they are gaining loyalty and exposure among some users who are navigating directly to them.

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