Internet sales are up this holiday season as expected, but Internet-only retailers may still be in trouble. According to Jupiter Research, online shopping traffic has increased more than 300% from last year's holiday season, but the majority of Web shoppers and browsers are going to sites affiliated with traditional bricks-and-mortar stores, not pure-play Internet retailers.
According to Forbes.com, over Thanksgiving weekend, traffic at Ashford.com dropped a surprising 46% from the same weekend in 1999. EToys' traffic was down 15%, and Buy.com was off by 2%. Amazon.com saw a 41% increase in traffic, but that was nothing compared to Walmart.com. Its number of visitors tripled from a year ago, making it the third-most visited online store for the week ending Nov. 26, the New York Times reports. Target.com, JCPenny.com, Bestbuy.com and Bluelight.com all saw increased traffic as well.
Analysts suggest multiple reasons for the decline in traffic to Internet-only retailers. Some say its due to e-tailers cutting back on marketing and raising prices to become profitable. Others suggest the recent failure of many dot-coms and the shipping disasters from last Christmas caused consumers to lose trust in Internet-only retailers.
- by Julia M. Duncan