Ho, Ho, Ho - Holiday Shopping Search Skyrockets

This year's Cyber Monday numbers shattered the record books, with significant increases of online shopping site visits and a reported $600 in online retail sales, up about 42% over last year. But to call it the biggest online shopping day of the year may be premature; as online retailers offer special shipping and other tantalizing offers to consumers, traffic to retail websites is increasing steadily in the midnight hour.

In the most recent issue of SearchReturn, Detlev Johnson noted that we may not have seen the biggest online shopping day yet, as last minute deals and exclusive offers will continue to drive online sales higher as Christmas day approaches. According to the Information Week article Johnson references, online retailing is starting to look a lot like brick and mortar sales these days, driving customers to their stores in droves with sales of the bluelight variety.

With Overstock.com, Macys.com and Amazon.com running limited online specials, consumers clicked on to those sites repeatedly to be one of the lucky customers. Admittedly, once I read this - I was sucked into Overstock as well - signing up for a chance to get the elusive PS3 console for only $50.

Meanwhile, Hitwise reports a 4.8% increase in traffic this week to the Top 100 US Retail index over last year during the same period.

Toys, electronics, apparel and accessories, understandably top the list of most popular search terms, increasing exponentially over the previous week.

“Our search term data reveals that the 2006 holiday season is the first time that new digital toys have outpaced some of the more traditional items in our top searched-for-list such as Barbie, Bratz and American Girl,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise. “However, Baby Alive, a doll originally introduced in 1973, took two spots in the top ten, demonstrating a renewed interest in retro toys.”

Should we assume, then that the 'fisher price digital camera', up 110 percent in search traffic, fits into that digital toy category or the electronics one?

In the electronics category, the Nintendo Wii is outpacing Playstation 3 on the order of three to one, although both consoles are in short supply, clearly the Wii appears to be in higher demand.

For apparel and accessories, Hitwise also notes Ugg boots have made a triumphant return to winter fashion. Apparently, that means Uggs must be the perfect boot to tuck your "skinny jeans" (into) - one of the most popular searches on SortPrice.com this holiday season. SortPrice.com, a shopping engine we covered earlier this year, notes these products as their most popular search terms among 3 to 4 Million unique monthly visitors:

1. Canon PowerShot SD600
2. Apple iPod Nano
3. Microsoft Zune Digital Player
4. LG Chocolate Cell Phone
5. Diamond Earrings
6. Men's Watches
7. Skinny Jeans
8. Women's Ankle Boots
9. Satchel Handbags
10. Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera

About the author

Elisabeth Osmeloski has been in the search engine marketing industry since 1999, with agency experience as an SEO consultant and web copywriter for a variety of clients, ranging from small businesses to large corporations, as well as working in-house for a travel search industry startup. Elisabeth is also a regular speaker and a moderator at the Search Engine Strategies conferences.

Elisabeth recently launched a new blog and consulting agency, Adventures in Search, specializing in editorial services including content strategy, SEO copywriting, community development and management, social media marketing, online PR and customized link building. Elisabeth's areas of expertise include adventure travel services, destination and tourism marketing, outdoor recreation and action sports, as well as luxury- and lifestyle-focused brands.

She holds a B.A. in Marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She also spent several years as the Skiing Editor for About.com, and still enjoys writing as an active travel journalist whenever possible. In addition to freelance travel writing assignments, Elisabeth has also created Downhill Divas, a social network for women interested in skiing, snowboarding, freeride mountain biking and living a healthy, active lifestyle.