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Source: CyberAtlas

Posted on August 24, 2002

      Total online consumer sales (excluding auctions) in July 2002 were $6 billion, up 26 percent versus the same month last year, and non-travel sales grew 20 percent, to $3.1 billion, according to measurement analysis from comScore Media Metrix.

      Despite what is typically a slow season for online spending, the sector has been enjoying significant gains during this summer. In comScore's June 2002 measurements, total online sales for the second quarter of 2002 were up 41 percent versus 2001, setting a new record of $17.5 billion. Additionally, online travel grew 46 percent to $7.8 billion, another record level, and non-travel sales rose 28 percent to $9.7 billion.

      "With few other sectors of the economy turning in double-digit growth, the Web continues to offer compelling opportunities as a sales and marketing channel," said Stephen Kim, senior vice president of the comScore Media Metrix division of comScore Networks.

      Much of the online spending in July 2002 could be attributed to travel services, the largest e-commerce category, and computer hardware sites.

      Sales of travel services grew 32 percent in July 2002 versus the same month last year, reaching a level of $2.9 billion. Traffic to Orbitz.com benefited from consumer interest in the category, and the site entered the top 50 ranking at number 40 with 10.3 million visitors, up 19 percent versus June 2002.

      Online consumer sales (excluding auctions) of computer hardware grew to $927 million in July 2002, an increase of 30 percent versus the same month last year. Traffic to Dell.com alone increased 34 percent between June and July, moving it into the top 50 ranking. The site ranked number 49 with 9.2 million unique visitors in the latest month.

      "Although consumer spending has been variously impacted by market uncertainty, we're seeing encouraging results in key e-commerce categories," said Peter Daboll, comScore Media Metrix division president.

      Financial information and advice was the fastest growing Web site category, increasing 19 percent to 23.2 million unique visitors in July 2002. The lowest mortgage interest rates in 36 years accounted for a 15 percent increase to 23 million visitors in the second fastest growing sector -- real estate.

      Key real-estate sites, measured by comScore, include: Remax.com with 750,000 visitors, up 83 percent versus the prior month; Apartment Guide Network with 883,000 visitors, up 57 percent; and House-hunting.com with 428,000 visitors, up 87 percent. Among the 25 real estate sites with 200,000 or more visitors, only three decreased in traffic while the rest increased between five and 158 percent.

      Evidence that the surge to real estate sites is continuing comes from Nielsen//NetRatings The firm reports that Century21.com attracted 153,000 unique visitors at home for the week ending August 11, 2002 -- increasing 25 percent since the week of July 21, 2002 when mortgage rates began their descent. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, other real estate sites that experienced significant traffic gains are Homestore.com (12 percent increase), MSNHomeAdvisor (11 percent), and Realtor.com (8 percent).

      Top newcomers to comScore's July 2002 Internet ratings are Ourchristiannation.org with 567,000 unique visitors; Billporter.com with 624,000 visitors; and Chick-fil-A's site, eatmorchikin.com, with 611,000 visitors. The measurement service defines "newcomer" as any site that entered the ratings for the first time with 500,000 or more visitors.

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