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E-Tailers Get Black Friday Boost

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NEW YORK Living up to its description as the official start of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday brought brisk traffic to online retailers.

According to the Nielsen/NetRatings Holiday e-Commerce Index, Internet shopping sites on Friday recorded a 28 percent week-over-week increase in traffic and a 19 percent boost over the previous four days.

"Online sellers can look forward to many more consumers shopping and buying online in the coming weeks," predicted Robert Leathern, director of commerce analytics at Nielsen/NetRatings, a part of Adweek parent VNU. "Black Friday may be the biggest day so far, but from past years' data we expect even more consumers to flock online in the coming days and weeks."

The consumer electronics category saw the biggest post-Thanksgiving jump, as the number of unique visitors rose 187 percent to 1.4 million on Friday. Home and garden Web sites tallied 1 million visitors, while apparel sites had 882,000, up 105 percent and 90 percent over the same day the week before, respectively.

One of the perennial favorites—the toys and video games category—welcomed 836,000 visitors on Black Friday, an 89 percent week-over-week boost. The category had the biggest growth over the course of the week, with 123 percent more visitors on Friday than the Monday-Thursday average.

General destination sites, like Amazon, eBay, Target.com and Wal-Mart.com, drew 8.7 million visitors the day after Turkey Day, 19 percent more than the previous four days and 27 percent more than the previous Friday.

The only category to record a week-over-week decline was specialty sites, which includes sellers of books, music and videos. About 495,000 people visited these e-tailers on Friday, down from 534,000 the week before.