SOURCE: The Nielsen Company

December 01, 2008 10:00 ET

Despite Challenging Economy, Black Friday Traffic to Online Shopping Sites Grows 10 Percent Year Over Year, According to Nielsen Online

Online Buzz Shows Shopping Incentives Important Part of Online Consumer Discussions Around Black Friday

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - December 1, 2008) - Nielsen Online, a service of the Nielsen Company, reported today that Web traffic from home and work to the Holiday eShopping Index increased 10 percent year over year on Black Friday, growing from 28.8 million unique visitors in 2007 to 31.7 million unique visitors in 2008 across more than 120 representative online retailers.

Holiday eShopping Index Category Growth

Consumer Electronics was the fastest growing product category on Friday, increasing 219 percent from the previous Friday, November 21st. Shopping Comparison/Portals and Toys/Videogames took the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, with 83 and 73 percent Web traffic growth, respectively (see Table 1).

"Even with the weakening economy, an unstable stock market and a rising unemployment rate, Black Friday traffic to online retail sites grew at a double digit rate this year," said Ken Cassar, vice president, industry insights, Nielsen Online. "Consumers are continuing to shift their holiday shopping to the Web for the convenience of not having to fight the crowds and to further stretch shrinking budgets. The fact that the Shopping Comparison/Portals category was the second fastest growing segment indicates that consumers continue to see the Web as the source for determining the best deals and prices of the season, which we expect to be top of mind for holiday shoppers this year." Cassar continued, "With the season underway and consumers back at work, it will be interesting to compare activity for Cyber Monday and to see if the initial growth rate we saw on Black Friday holds up throughout the holiday shopping season."

Table 1: Product Categories ranked by Growth on Black Friday
(U.S., Home and Work)


                                              Unique Audience Growth from
Categories                                           11/21 to 11/28
                                             -----------------------------
Consumer Electronics                                                   219%
                                             -----------------------------
Shopping Comparison/Portals                                             83%
                                             -----------------------------
Toys/Videogames                                                         73%
                                             -----------------------------
Home and Garden                                                         53%
                                             -----------------------------
Computer Hardware/Software                                              30%
                                             -----------------------------
Books/Music/Video                                                       29%
                                             -----------------------------
Retail                                                                  20%
                                             -----------------------------
Beauty                                                                  16%
                                             -----------------------------
Apparel                                                                  3%
                                             -----------------------------
Flowers and Gifts                                                      -16%
                                             -----------------------------
Shoes                                                                  N/A
                                             -----------------------------
Jewelry                                                                N/A
                                             -----------------------------
TOTAL                                                                   15%
                                             -----------------------------


Source: Nielsen Online, NetView Custom Analysis

Black Friday Online Conversations and Consumer Perceptions

To gauge consumer perceptions about Black Friday, Nielsen Online created a Brand Association Map™ (BAM), based on online discussions in blogs and online forums between October 1st and November 22, 2008. With the keyword "Black Friday" at the center, the BAM reveals words and phrases most frequently used when consumers discussed Black Friday. The closer the words are to the center, the greater the association.

Key findings:

--  Not surprisingly, shopping incentives were a key part of Black Friday
    discussions. The terms "deals," "sales," and "doorbusters," referring to
    deep discounts intended to get shoppers in the door, were all closely
    associated with Black Friday.
--  Specific retailers were also mentioned in relation to Black Friday,
    including Sears, CVS, Wal-Mart, JCPenney, Staples and Circuit City, among
    others.
--  Consumers discussed specific products and gift ideas, including high
    definition televisions, video games, laptops and toys.
    

See the Black Friday BAM here.

Black Friday Top 10 Online Retail Destinations

eBay was the top online retail destination on Black Friday with 9.8 million unique visitors, while Amazon and Wal-Mart followed with 8.4 million and 6.0 million unique visitors, respectively (See Table 2). Among the top ten online retail destinations, Circuit City was the fastest growing on Friday, increasing 352 percent over the previous Friday. Best Buy ranked No. 2 with a 196 percent increase in Web traffic and Target rounded out the top three with a 136 percent week over week growth.

Table 2: Top 10 Online Retailers Ranked by Unique Audience on
Black Friday 2008 (U.S., Home and Work)


                                                                  Percent
Site                         11/21/08 UA (000) 11/28/08 UA (000)   Growth
                             ----------------- ----------------- ---------
1. eBay                                  9,227             9,871         7%
                             ----------------- ----------------- ---------
2. Amazon                                6,503             8,448        30%
                             ----------------- ----------------- ---------
3. Wal-Mart Stores                       2,923             6,029       106%
                             ----------------- ----------------- ---------
4. Target                                1,780             4,196       136%
                             ----------------- ----------------- ---------
5. Best Buy                              1,252             3,709       196%
                             ----------------- ----------------- ---------
6. Circuit City                            639             2,889       352%
                             ----------------- ----------------- ---------
7. Dell                                  1,527             1,926        26%
                             ----------------- ----------------- ---------
8. Sears                                 1,478             1,639        11%
                             ----------------- ----------------- ---------
9. Kohl's                                1,018             1,601        57%
                             ----------------- ----------------- ---------
10. JCPenney                               974             1,518        56%
                             ----------------- ----------------- ---------


Source: Nielsen Online, NetView Custom Analysis

About Nielsen Online's Holiday eShopping Index

The Nielsen Online Holiday eShopping Index is comprised of over 120 representative online retailers across twelve categories, and acts as a barometer to gauge the level of activity at online shopping destinations during the holiday season. The Index illustrates increased shopping activity through category growth.

About Nielsen Online:

Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, delivers comprehensive, independent measurement and analysis of online audiences, advertising, video, consumer-generated media, word of mouth, commerce and consumer behavior, and includes products previously marketed under the Nielsen//NetRatings and Nielsen BuzzMetrics brands. With high quality, technology-driven products and services, Nielsen Online enables clients to make informed business decisions regarding their Internet, digital and marketing strategies. For more information, please visit www.nielsen-online.com. Also, visit our blog at www.nielsen-online.com/blog.

About The Nielsen Company:

The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA. For more information, please visit, www.nielsen.com.

Editor's Note: Please source all data to Nielsen Online.

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