Etail sites see drop in traffic

Traffic to etail sites is in decline as consumers feel the effects of the global recession, according to new research.

The Hitwise Online Retail Update found 8.6% of UK internet visits were made to etail sites in March compared to 9.7% the same month a year earlier, exceeded by visits to social networks at 9.8%.

While a decline in traffic to etailers is standard in January and February, according to Hitwise, the market usually picks up again in March.

However, compared to a 0.7% increase in March 2008, last month traffic to etail sites only improved by 0.1%.

The report also found paid search traffic to etailers has declined, with traffic from PPC campaigns down from 27.8% in March 2008 to 22.5% in March 2009. Likewise, the proportion of traffic to all websites from search engines has declined over the year, from 12.1% in March 2008 to 9.4% last month.

Robin Goad, Hitwise director of research, said, “The growth of social networking, online video and the continuing popularity of news websites has meant that an increasing proportion of consumers’ online time in the UK has been devoted to online media.

“Historically this has gone hand in hand with the growth of online retail, but over the past three months online retailers seem to be really suffering from the economic downturn for the first time,” he added.

This story first appeared on

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