Online Holiday Shopping Doubles

Partners Amazon.com and Toys R Us trounced all e-tailers with close to 123 million shopping visits, according to the Nielsen NetRatings Holiday E-commerce Index.

In second and third place were eToys.com and dell.com respectively, with roughly 21 million visits apiece.

The list of holiday e-tailers is noteworthy for the predominance of brick-and-mortar players: Of the top 15 sites, 11 are established offline brands.

“The 2000 holiday season will best be remembered for the onslaught of brick-and-mortar stores,” said Sean Kaldor, vice president of e-commerce at NetRatings.

Online sales during the week leading up to Christmas were down $540 million from the previous week, when sales peaked at $1.6 billion, according to PC Data Online.

Still, holiday s hopping figures more than doubled to $9.8 billion from the comparable period in 1999.

Seasonal sales were 78 percent higher at the peak but fell 30 percent in the last week, said Kaldor said, adding that final numbers are expected to be in line with fore casts for 55 million people to shop online for the holidays.

Despite posting more than 21million holiday visits, eToys, which was hoping for a holiday lift, said it expected fourth-quarter sales to fall 50 percent short of expectations, and it was closing European operations on Jan. 19.