Online traffic increases with toys on the list: Nielsen

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Online visits to Nielsen//NetRatings' Holiday eShopping Index grew 43 percent since the beginning of the shopping season, according to the researcher, with toys and video games leading the race.

The study found that traffic grew 43 percent between the last week in October and the week ending Dec. 3, which is a 4 percent increase over the same period last year.

"The increase in online traffic highlights the continued popularity of shoppers turning to the Internet for holiday gift giving needs, including researching before going to stores and, or purchasing online," said Heather Dougherty, senior retail analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings, New York.

"Not surprisingly, the usage of comparison-shopping tools has increased as consumers are researching the availability and price of products across various merchants," she said.

Key shopping days led to these numbers. Cyber Monday was the highest combined home and work traffic to the Index during the holiday season. But that distinction now belongs to Wednesday, Nov. 29, with a unique audience of 30.3 million, an 18 percent increase over the same day a year ago.

Cyber Monday is still the highest trafficked day from work, garnering 16.1 million unique visitors and growing 7 percent over the previous year. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, beat out Black Friday for the most visitors from home, increasing 20 percent over 2005 with a unique audience of 20.0 million.

The fastest growing product category so far is toys and video games, with online visits increasing 129 percent since the end of October. Consumer electronics took the second spot, growing 101 percent, followed by jewelry, which has increased 76 percent.

"The hard - to - find products like the latest video game consoles and TMX Elmo are very popular for this holiday season," Ms. Dougherty said. "Other top sellers include dolls such as Barbie and various types of action figures, which also tend to be popular each year."

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