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Christmas set to be a good one for UK web retailers

LONDON - In the run-up to Christmas, traffic to shopping websites has reached its highest point of the year to date, with the retail sector accounting for 8.06% of all online traffic during September, according to Hitwise.

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The traffic represents a 44% increase in market share to shopping sites, compared with the same period last year.

Shopping categories that have experienced a sizeable increase in market share in the last 12 months include auctions, clothing and accessories, and flowers and gifts sites.

The rewards and directories category has also seen a significant increase in market share, with traffic to sites such as Kelkoo and Pricerunner increasing by over 60% in the last 12 months.

Of the top 10 shopping sites in September, eBay continued to dominate with 24.9% market share, followed by Amazon with 5.68% and eBay Shops with 3.03%.

Online grocery sites also had a good showing with visitors to Tesco remaining for an average of 21 minutes and 51 seconds, followed by Sainsbury's to You with 21 minutes and 13 seconds and Waitrose with 17 minutes and 14 seconds. Of the top five grocery sites by session duration, however, Ocado, which partners Waitrose, had the highest percentage of visitors bookmarking the site.

Top 10 shopping and classifieds sites by visits, September 2003

1. eBay UK 24.90%

2. Amazon UK 5.68%

3. eBay Shops UK 3.03%

4. MSN eShop 2.91%

5. eBay.com 2.90%

6. Tesco.com 1.50%

7. Kelkoo UK 1.41%

8. Amazon.com 1.22%

9. Argos.co.uk 0.92%

10. Play.com 0.85%

Top five grocery sites by average session time, September 2003

1. Tesco Superstore 21 min 51 sec

2. Sainsbury to You 21 min 13 sec

3. WaitroseDeliver 17 min 14 sec

4. Iceland Online Store 16 min 31 sec

5. Ocado 14 min 36 sec

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