Ecommerce sites are being overrun by Christmas shoppers, but as many as 40 per cent are likely to be frustrated by their online experience.
According to Web usage statistics from research firm Media Metrix, e-commerce sites saw the number of visitors surge from 4-10 December, the second week of the US Christmas shopping season.
But in a reversal of traditional Web demographics, 55 per cent of these online shoppers were women, with the single biggest group being females aged between 18 and 34.
However, all categories of online stores benefited from the boom.
Some 1.6 million people visited toy shops, generating a 146 per cent increase in traffic compared to last month. Sites selling books, videos and CDs, on the other hand, saw an 85 per cent upsurge in business, drawing 5.4 million people for the week. They remain the most popular of the e-commerce sites.
But online department stores - a rather marginal category up till now - saw the highest increase in activity. Traffic grew 135 per cent, although this still only amounted to less than a million Web surfers a week.
While many of these visitors are likely to be first-time online shoppers, it is still unclear whether they will return for more, so bringing about a lasting rise in the popularity of e-commerce.
"That?s the billion dollar question," said Bob Ivins, Media Metrix?s senior vice president.
But some data suggests customers may not be tempted back. According to NetSales, which sells e-commerce services, some 40 per cent of online shoppers will be frustrated by their online shopping experiences.
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