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Peak online shopping period moves closer to Christmas

LONDON - The peak of traffic for online retail sites moved from the last Sunday in November to the first Sunday and Monday in December, with Amazon gaining by far the most share of visits since last year.

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The traffic data from Experian Hitwise indicates that there was just a 0.25% increase in visits to retail sites between Sunday 30 November 2008 and Monday 7 December 2009.

Amazon.co.uk's share of UK internet visits increased from 6.1% on Sunday 30 November 2008 to 8.2% on Monday 7 December 2009.

Department stores and supermarkets also featured in Hitwise's list of the 10 web retailers which enjoyed the biggest boost to their share of visits.

M&S and Play.com tied with the second biggest gain after Amazon, both rising 0.4 percentage points to 1.3% for the former and 2.6% for the latter.

They were followed by Littlewoods, John Lewis and VoucherCodes.co.uk, which all gained 0.3 percentage points. Amazon Seller Central, Tesco Direct, Homebase and Shopwiki UK rounded out the top ten, all with a 0.1 percentage point rise.

Jonathan De Mello, Experian's director of retail consultancy said: "Retailers have been determined to learn from mistakes made last year by investing in a more focused multi-channel strategy this year - offering both online and off-line order fulfilment.

"The more traditional bricks and mortar retailers have invested heavily in their websites and this has clearly paid off for them, as they have managed to substantially increase their online 'share of wallet'."

The change of peak traffic day was backed up by traffic data released by VoucherCodes.co.uk. Its traffic on the first Monday in December was 7% higher than on the previous week.

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