Following a record month for online retail in December, Hitwise reports that UK Internet users have now shifted their focus away from shopping to holidays in the post-Christmas period. Hitwise data for December and early January reveals that whilst traffic to online retailers has fallen, interest in online travel agencies has boomed.
Market share of visits to Shopping sites decreased significantly from the week ending December 6th, as users finished their online Christmas shopping. From a peak of 10.6% for the week ending December 6th, market share for the Shopping category fell to 9% by the end of December.
By contrast, the travel sector has witnessed a significant increase in traffic despite recent heavy concern over the impact of terrorist threats. From a low of 2.3% market share for the week ending December 20th, the travel category has almost doubled to an impressive 4.13% of overall traffic for the week ending January 10th. Compared with the same point last year, visits to travel sites have increased by 27% as demand for winter breaks grows.
Travel websites which have seen a major increase in traffic include Expedia www.expedia.co.uk and First Choice www.firstchoice.co.uk. Expedia has increased its overall rank by more than 40 places since December 20th to become the 28th most visited UK site for the week ending 10th January, whilst First Choice has moved from 17th position to 9th position within the Travel Agencies category over the same period. easyJet www.easyjet.co.uk , Ryanair www.ryanair.com and British Airways www.ba.com have also seen a considerable increase in traffic within the last 2 weeks, with easyJet the most popular travel site in Hitwise’s top 100 UK sites for the week ending 10th January.
Top 10 UK Travel Agencies sites, week ending 10/1/04
Online Travel Company
Top searches by destination
Hitwise search terms data reveals the top destinations that UK Internet users are searching for online are Majorca, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.