Visits to Online Retailer Sites Up 20M Visits Last Week

Online retailers continued doing a break business last week.  Total visits to online retailers climbed to 662M total visits; up 20M visits from the same week in 2010.

Last week’s increase is the latest in a series of banner weeks for the online retail industry as consumers signal their desire to trade in their cars for laptops to shop for gifts.

The big winners continue to be mass merchants and department stores.  Mass merchants were responsible for over half of the growth week over week when compared to 2010.  Merchants such as Kohls have been pulling out all of the stops – offering 20% off orders, plus $10 with every $50 ordered.

It will be interesting to see what the trends look like in the final run up to Christmas.  Numerous retailers have guaranteed shipping dates that get presents under the tree if you order as late as tonight.  Retailers have not been shy about letting consumers know they can still place last minute orders.  Sephora, Walmart and Macys all have been using email campaigns to drive the message home.

Retailers have traditionally done everything they can to get consumers to stroll into a store during the last week of Christmas.  The thought has been that even if a shopper  has bought all of their presents that they might splurge on what last stocking stuffer if they are tempted in the store.  One could argue that a last minute free-shipping offer might be that last incentive to drive online traffic and perhaps make an impulsive online buy.

Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see what types of margin hits that traditional retailers report for being so aggressive in offering free shipping – especially expedited shipping –during the run up to the holidays.