Online Retailers See Holiday Traffic Surge

It’s a good year to be in the online coupon business.

With Web retailers slashing prices and posting sale after sale on their sites, companies whose core business is discount shopping are enjoying hefty traffic surges this holiday season, according to a new report issued by comScore. In November, the coupon site category saw its audience spike by 32 percent to 35.6 million unique deal-seeking visitors versus the previous month.

The top site in the discount-heavy category was, which saw its audiences swell 20 percent versus October to 8.6 million uniques. Meanwhile, the Black Friday deal aggregator’s audience exploded, increasing close to 1,500 percent in November to 5.5 million uniques.

Discount havens weren’t the only ecommerce players to benefit from the kickoff of the holiday season, at least in terms of traffic growth (actual sales are a whole other matter). Recession-conscious shoppers turned to toy and electronics sites in big numbers, found comScore, as well as big-box retailers like Walmart.

The Toy category increased by 24 percent versus October to 31.3 million uniques, led by a surge in shoppers logging onto ToysRus Sites (15.4 million visitors, up 65 percent versus the previous month).

comScore also found that overall traffic to electronics sites jumped by 17 percent to 55.8 million visitors in November, led by (20 million visitors) Circuit City Stores (15.4 million visitors) and Walmart Electronics (9.5 million visitors).

Speaking of Walmart, the local-cost retailing giant’s site landed a whopping 44 million unique visitors overall during the month, an increase of 50 percent versus the previous month. Rival Target’s user-base also soared by 26 percent to 39 million-plus visitors.

Overall, cost-conscious consumers are turning to the Web for sales, perks and comparison shopping, according to Jack Flanagan, executive vp of comScore Media Metrix. “The current economic situation has caused retailers to slash prices and offer highly attractive offers, such as free shipping, to appeal to cost-conscious Americans this holiday season,” he said. “With budgets a top concern for consumers, the ability to conveniently search the Web to find the best prices has become an increasingly important part of the holiday shopping buying process, for both online and offline purchases.”