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Christmas retail traffic will rise to 10% of internet visits

LONDON - Visits to retail sites will represent one in 10 of all internet visits on the internet in December this year, analyst Hitwise is predicting.

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The internet analysis company says that as of October 2003, the shopping sector now represents 8.7% of all internet visits -- a rise of 48% in the last 12 months. And this is set to grow in the run up to Christmas, where Hitwise predicts that more than one in five pages requested on the internet will be from a retail website.

The biggest single retail sector is online auctions, with visits to sites such as eBay and Priceline account for nearly 30% of visits. Other popular areas are books, with the likes of Amazon and WH Smith pushing book traffic up to almost 10% of the market, and department stores, such as Argos and John Lewis, which receive 14% of retail visits.

The news comes as two of the internet's biggest properties, MSN and Yahoo, launch Christmas shopping marketing pushes in the US. Yahoo will be promoting its 'Deal of the Decade' where its shopping channel will feature a site for people to donate to the Salvation Army, while MSN is using the star of the US version of 'What Not To Wear', Wayne Scot Lukas.

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